Brad came home from visiting his family yesterday. And it wasn't until he held Claire for the first time after being home that she reassumed her usual permagrin. The one that had been absent the entire time he'd been gone.
Unlike Grace, Claire was not named from her third month in the womb.
In fact, Claire was actually called Eva for her first four hours of life. But after those four hours, she didn't look like Eva. She looked like Claire. So she was Claire.
I didn't wait till last minute on purpose. I felt the deadline looming at my first hint of morning nausea. And so Brad and I had tossed names around feverishly. We discussed so many that we eventually couldn't remember which ones we liked and which we didn't. We considered everything.
I take that back. We considered almost everything.
One night, a month or so before Claire came, Brad and Grace and my Mom and my Dad and I sat around steaks at a restaurant in Roswell. We had names on the brain, again, and my mom had suggested some ancestral options. She blurted a few names she could remember, and then ended with, "Oh, I know. How about Carrilla?"
I liked it. Loved it.
It felt perfect. It rolled off my tongue:
I couldn't finish. Laughter. Too much laughter.
Great-aunt Carrilla will never have a namesake from me. It would be a playground tragedy.
I don't think my mom ever wore the necklaces we made her for Mother's Day. And I'm pretty sure it wasn't because she considered herself too cool for my one-of-a-kind-yarn-and-macaroni jewelry (fashionable though she is). She probably just didn't think about it. She probably just didn't have any place to wear it except for Church, and then maybe considered it irreverent.
Of course, she didn't leave us every day for a job either.
Grace made me a friendship bracelet yesterday. I wore it to work today. And I plan to wear it everyday. There is something very painful about going to work everyday. It makes me very sentimental. It means that I come home, turn off the TV, and sit down. I hold, I read, I play, I laugh, I tickle. Until they go to bed. And bed time comes oh-so-soon.
Tonight Brad and I went on a double date with my parents. We went out to eat, and then we split up: the boys went to Home Depot and the girls went to Target. While at Target, my mom spotted the Ped-Egg. They are files for the dead skin on your feet. Perhaps you've seen them at 2 am on a TV infomercial. Brad did (well, not at 2 am), and immediately grabbed for the phone. Which I politely withheld from him.
My mom is not like me. She indulges him at every opportunity. She does all of us, really, but especially Brad. Probably because he's so easy to to please.
So she grabbed the Ped-Egg. And some ice cream. And a couple of pretty dishes.
And when we checked out, the total of our small collection of items reached--well, an appallingly high number. I held up our five half-full bags, looked at them and said, "Where is all that money?"
"Expensive ice cream." My mom said. And then added, "I'll bet it was those ped-a-files."
She winced in shock when she realized what she'd said. But you should have seen the look of the guy passing us in the store.
My husband has this thing with nicknames. In high school, he told me my name took too much energy to say. (To his credit, he was adding on the "EE" at the beginning of my name instead of the "Uh" as people--myself included--usually do, so I suppose it caused him a teensie bit more mouth work. Sort of.) So for a while there he was calling me EL. Seriously.
It didn't really stick. And maybe his energy has increased because these days he calls me Elise. Or sweetie, honey, and cutiepie.
But it's the nicknames he's given our children that are at issue. And these nicknames are not really for shortening purposes. They're just for kicks.
For example. Claire has been known in our household as: Claire Bear (well, okay, that's predictable, but keep reading), Clear Beer (a spin-off of the former--not a reference to a beverage choice), Claire-de-Lune (well, my mom initiated that one), Clairee Pie, and (my favorite) Claritin Clear.
Grace answers to: Amazing Grace, Gracie, Grake, Graco, Greek, and Grease (or Greece. whichever you prefer). Grease is Brad's most frequently used nickname for Grace. I'm sure that will thrill an adolescent Grace.
Purposeless nicknames. They're fun. You should try it sometime.