Oh, what’s in a name?

I’ve never been very good about permanent decisions. I had a full-blown panic attack shortly after I got engaged, and my mother had to make me breathe into a paper bag.* I was nauseous the entire night and morning before the Mister and I got married.* I cried after finding out I was pregnant.* I’ve had buyer’s remorse for basically everything I’ve ever purchased over $15, even when I compared prices and styles and tried it on or tested it out and thought about it for days beforehand. Even getting my hair cut is an agonizing decision. I’m just not good with things that can’t be changed immediately (or ever).

One of the things that falls into this category: naming our child.

Since my last post, the Mister and I have found out we’re having a little girl! It was a bit of a shock at first, since we’d thoroughly convinced ourselves we were going to have a boy, but now we are fully on board and excited about welcoming our daughter.

We’ve actually had a girl’s name picked out and agreed upon for years, but since finding out that we are, in fact, actually having a girl, so many other possibilities have presented themselves that now we’re knee-deep in baby names with no foreseeable way out.

What if we pick a name and it doesn’t seem to suit her? What if we love a name and the nurse fills out the paperwork and we introduce her to her new family… and then the next day we wake up and decide it’s not very good at all and we want to go with something else?

I can’t just change my child’s name at age 7 because I suddenly found something I wish I had used instead.

I really shouldn’t be trusted with this decision.

Although, that being said, the decision is completely up to us, and we like it that way. People always gasp in surprise when I tell them we won’t be announcing the baby’s name until she arrives. There are lots of people who don’t share the name or even the gender beforehand, so it’s really not that unusual, but we have four reasons for this:

  1. We’re going to change our minds. A lot. And we might not even know her name when she gets here.
  2. I don’t like monogrammed things.
  3. I want to introduce her to her grandparents and extended family when she arrives, so her name will be a surprise for them too.
  4. The Mister and I want to decide on a name that we love together for reasons of our own and not be talked into or out of a particular name based on the (often unsolicited) opinions of other people.

So tell me, how did you and your significant other come up with your baby’s name(s)? Did you use a baby name book? Your favorite movie? Did you pull scrabble titles out of a bag and use whatever you could make from them? Let me know your strategies!

*Important footnote: This doesn’t imply I thought these things were bad ideas or that I wasn’t sure about the decision. I’m just not good with things I won’t be able to spontaneously change later.

The importance of the right words

Yesterday was my first Mother’s Day! ūüėÄ The Mister got me a sweet card and let me pick out some patio furniture for the back deck, so I would say it was worth it. ūüėČ

At church services yesterday, many people included me in their Mother’s Day wishes, although some made a¬†distinction between those celebrating “Mother’s Day” and those celebrating “Mother-to-be Day.” While I know that none of these people meant anything by it and were in no way diminishing my celebration, I did have a few thoughts on the subject occur to me. I am not upset about this at all, but I want to share a few things I thought of that might make us all think twice about the phrase “mother-to-be” in the future.

The phrase “mother-to-be” indicates a woman who is not yet a mother but will be at some future point in time. This is often, as was the case yesterday, used to indicate a woman who does not yet have a baby independent of her own body, which would include currently pregnant women.

But, to figure out what that phrase actually means, we need to define exactly what a “mother” is.

I think we would all agree that a mother is a woman who has some number of children (whether one or multiples). So the number of children does not matter. Is a woman raising adopted children a mother? Yes, of course. So the biological or adopted status of the child does not matter. Is a woman who has lost a child still a mother, even though her child is no longer living? Yes, of course! So the alive/not-alive state of the child does not matter.

So we’ve determined that a mother is a woman who has any number of children, living or not.

I’m going to take a moment to assume all my readers believe life begins at conception. (If you don’t, I’m not using this particular article to try and convince you otherwise. Just go with it for a moment.)

If life begins at conception, then it does not begin on the day of a child’s birth. A birthday simply marks the anniversary of the day a child came into the world – or was “born” – but not the day that child became alive, since that begins at conception. (For example, my birthday is May 29, and this year I will celebrate 27 years since I came into the world. However, I’ve been alive approximately nine months longer than that.)

If this is true, then a pregnant woman (like myself) has a living child. I do not yet have a laughing, smiling, crying baby that is physically independent of my body, but I do have a living child that is approximately 17 weeks old.

So, going back to our previously-agreed-upon definition of a mother: I am a woman who has a living child. So I am already a mother. A mother today. Not a mother someday-to-be.

A mother-to-be would actually, using that phrase correctly, be a woman who does not have a child, in any form, but hopes to have one someday. A woman who is pregnant already has a living child and is therefore already a mother, not a mother someday-to-be. If something happened to that unborn child, whether at three months or five months or eight months of development, we would still consider that woman¬†to be that child’s mother. So why do we make the distinction before its birth?

So, yesterday I celebrated Mother’s Day, not Mother-to-be Day, because I am already a mother.

I am a great lover of words, and I believe words should be used correctly and in a precise way to convey their individual meanings. So maybe using the phrase “mother-to-be” to refer to a pregnant woman isn’t really the best thing. Maybe that indicates through our words – whether it is what we truly believe or not – that the child growing inside said woman does not yet make her a mother outright, which would mean it is not yet alive.

Because¬†if life begins at conception, we need to be consciously speaking of it as a real life from that point on, not a someday-to-be, theoretical sort of life. Because when you start¬†talking about it as a theoretical life, then you fall down the rabbit hole of “well, if it’s not a real life, then does it matter how we treat it?” And that, my friends, is where the madness is.

Just something to consider. Like I said, I know what those people meant and am not offended by it, I just think we should take a moment to consider popularly accepted phrases and what they actually mean before we accept that they are appropriate.

Happy Monday!

-The Missus

 

It’s his baby too!

So we’re at week 15 on the baby journey, and I’ve been noticing something that bothers me.

Ever since we made the news public, people come up to me everywhere and congratulate me on the baby. People I know, people I don’t really know, people that know me somehow through someone that we both knew at one point… all kinds of people.

The thing is, sometimes the Mister is standing right next to me when they do this, and most of the time, the congratulator makes no comment to him. They hug me and say how happy they are for me and ask how I’m feeling… but few ever turn to him – the baby’s father – and congratulate him as well.

Maybe it’s implied, but this bothers me just the same. I didn’t do this all on my own, you know. And truth be told, he may actually be more excited than I am about all of this.

(Granted, this baby hasn’t been making him climb into bed and curl into a ball to avoid vomiting on a regular basis. So that may play a contributing factor.)

He’s going to be a fantastic daddy, not just a father. (And yes, there is a difference.) His life is going to change drastically as well. He made a huge decision too, and he deserves some recognition for it.

So next time you see us – or any couple that you know is expecting – by all means, hug the new mother and ask how she’s feeling, but don’t forget the new dad who’s probably just as terrified on the inside as she is. Daddy’s need some encouragement too.

Just… ring… the doorbell…

I haven’t forgotten all my readers, I promise! The Mister and I are working on a few big projects around the house, and everything has unconsciously taken a backseat until those are done. But I’m here, I’m alive, and this morning, I was locked out of my house.

When I grabbed my lunchbox and headed out to the car (because my priorities are obviously in order), I briefly thought my arms should be heavier. Then the door clicked shut, and I knew.

You know that feeling when you suddenly become aware that something very bad has happened, and you know there is nothing you can do about it, but your brain is still in denial?

Yeah, that feeling.

When the door clicked shut behind me, my first words were, “No… no no no no no!”

Sure enough, my purse, with my house keys, car keys, cell phone, wallet and everything else essential to my day, was sitting at the kitchen table, three feet from the locked door I was standing behind.

I knew this day would come. I knew it. From the first day we moved into this house I knew the moment would arrive where I would¬†stand¬†in the garage and stare at my keys through the back window. And here it was at last. Had I prepared for it by putting a spare key somewhere? No. Of course not. That’s what a smart person would do. And you’re about to see I’m not exactly a smart person.

I wanted to avoid having the Mister come home from work to let me in, so my first impulse was to shake and rattle the back door to convince myself that I had, in fact, actually locked it behind me. (Yes, people, I do have a college degree.) Then I tried the front and back doors, hating myself for being a responsible home owner and locking the house up tight before I left.

Then I spent 10 minutes trying to open the back windows from the outside. (It cannot be done, which is both reassuring and incredibly frustrating at the same time.)

Then I walked a few houses down the main road to where some friends of ours live, not sure if they would even be home. All three cars were in the driveway, all signs pointed to yes, so I knocked on the door.

And I knocked. And knocked a few more times. And called their names and told them it was me. And briefly considered trying to set off one of their car alarms.

Nobody answered, so I walked back to my house and woke up another neighbor who was nice enough to let me call the Mister to come to my rescue. He came, he laughed, he went back to work. An hour after I left for work, I finally arrived at my office.

The first thing I did was send a message to my friends who didn’t answer the door.

“What good is it knowing people who live down the street if they won’t let you in when you lock yourself out of the house?” (half kidding. mostly kidding. I think.)

Response: “We didn’t hear you. You should have used the doorbell.”

THE DOORBELL!!

Why in the world did I not just ring the doorbell???????!!!!!

What in the world is wrong with me!??

I had actually, very briefly, noticed the doorbell when I first walked up, but I made the decision to knock instead. Maybe the brain cells that were awake thought that would be less rude, somehow? At any rate, I didn’t encode the information or go back to it when the knocking didn’t work.

Just. Ring. The doorbell.

Good grief.

 

Mine! Mine! Mine!

A few weekends ago, Lucy graduated from sleeping in her kennel each night to sleeping out free in the room. It’s gone really well, actually… on Lucy’s part. She stays quiet, she mostly waits until our alarms go off to ask to go outside, and she hasn’t chewed on anything in the night. We’re very proud of her.

It’s Meera that has become the problem.

For a long time now, Meera has had a large, flat dog bed in the floor of our bedroom. It’s an eggshell memory foam mattress – really ridiculous for a dog – but it was the largest size Walmart had so that’s what I came home with. She has always seemed to love it and, as anyone who knows Meera is aware, she does not share well.

So when Lucy started trying to sneak onto the mattress to sleep with big sister, that was not okay. Nevermind the fact that it’s plenty big enough for the both of them, or that Meera outweighs Lucy by at least 40 pounds and could easily just make her move… no… if Lucy is on the dog bed, Meera has a fit and comes over to my side of the bed to groan and whine and complain until I finally get up and (attempt to) do something about it.

That got old REALLY quickly!

So, to balance things out, we bought Lucy her own bed. A logical decision, right? We thought so.

So we brought home a small dog bed (one with the raised sides, like a little boat) and put it in the corner where Lucy’s kennel used to be. Keep in mind that this bed was significantly smaller than Meera’s bed.

Lo and behold, if Meera didn’t see that shiny new dog bed and decide, then and there, that she didn’t care what size it was the new bed was hers and Lucy absolutely could not have it. (Petty, jealous brat that she is.)

So last week, we watched as Meera turned daintily around in the tiny dog bed and proceeded to squish herself down into it. (Picture a large bird on a small nest. Or a big cat fitting itself into a little box.) She fit… but just barely. The sides of the bed were almost flat on the floor, but she was determined. This is new, so this is mine. I don’t care that I’m obviously uncomfortable, I’m proving a point here.

So she stayed there all night. I was amazed. And of course, Lucy spread out on the giant dog bed and enjoyed herself immensely.

The next day I took the tiny bed back and exchanged it for a larger size, since if Meera is going to be a brat about it she might as well be a comfortable brat.

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Keep in mind, the previous bed was at least a third smaller.

I’d say she likes it. She’s barely gotten out of it in days. In fact, she now likes to have it in her kennel during the day as well.

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It’s her happy place, apparently. It’s still technically¬†supposed to be Lucy’s bed, but I guess as long as they’re both happy and not waking me up, I don’t really care. Pick your battles and all that, right?

All in all, I’d say $25 well spent.

 

 

Trust me, you don’t need a life plan.

In high school and college, I heard lots of talk from friends and teachers about “having a life plan.” Five-year, 10-year, 15-year plans: Career moves, marriage, children, whatever it was you wanted in life, you needed to have a clear set of goals to get there. Everybody stressed the importance of having a predetermined path¬†to get to a specific place where you thought you wanted to be.

Over and over again, I’ve seen friends who couldn’t meet the goals outlined in their “life plans” and suffered great anxiety and disappointment because of it.

Through the course of my job, I’ve had the privilege to interview a large number of people who have been deemed “successful” by the world at large: company CEOs, lawyers, doctors, civil servants, athletes, coaches, television personalities, etc. People who have reached the top of their field, according to those around them. And I’ve started to see a common thread running through all my interviews.

They didn’t have a “life plan.” They didn’t follow a set of goals to get to where they are today. In many cases, they aren’t even in the fields they intended to be in and wound up where they are largely by happy accident.

Bill Rhodes, president and CEO of AutoZone, was hired into his first auditing job (which later led directly to his AutoZone position) not because of his auditing skills, but because that company had an interdepartmental golf challenge each year, and Rhodes was an all-star college golfer.

He is CEO today, ultimately, because he could hit a golf ball. (He’s an excellent leader and has done great things for that company, but we’re just focusing on the beginning steps here.)

Houston Gordon, a nationally-recognized trial lawyer, took the exam to go to law school because his friends were taking it, and he happened to have enough money to pay the exam fee. Then, while in law school, he joined the National Moot Court Team because a friend saw a flyer and wanted to try out. He didn’t even know what the word “moot” meant! (Told me that himself earlier this week.)

His experience on that team led directly to a position with the Army JAG Corps in the ’70s, during which time he served as primary defense lawyer for Lt. William Calley, a case¬†well-known by those who grew up in the Vietnam era. That case in turn changed him from a tax lawyer to a trial lawyer, and he went on to change the national laws and procedures for¬†half-a-dozen different legal¬†charges. He’s consistently named one of the top-100 trial lawyers in the country, is the winner of dozens of awards and is highly sought-after by clients all over the nation.

No life plan. Just enough money in the bank to take the law school aptitude test.

So I’ve come to this conclusion: having a set “life plan” probably holds us back from many things. Houston Gordon intended to be a professional basketball player. Think of how different the legal world would be if he’d been successful on that path.

I think it is of more benefit to teach our high school and college students to have a good enough educational, spiritual, physical and emotional foundation to be able to accept new opportunities when they come and take the chances that may be offered along the way. Who knows, maybe the person who could have cured cancer ended up teaching mathematics at a high school somewhere because that was his/her original “life goal” and he/she never even considered any other field.

Be open to change. Don’t fear opportunity. Maybe taking life by the horns is the best way to get where¬†you’re truly meant to go.

Happy weekend,

The Missus

 

Weeks ago, my husband nudged me awake.

“Babe, your alarm is going off.”

Wait… what…?

I sat up and listened. Hard.

“I don’t hear anything.”

He pushed me again.

“Trust me. Your alarm is going off.”

So I rolled to the edge of the bed and, sure enough, my iPad screen was on and a still, small sound was barely audible. I’d left the volume turned down to the lowest possible setting from the night before. I pushed the button and rolled back over.

“How can you hear that but you can’t hear me when I’m talking to you?”

“What? I dunno.”

[flash forward a few days]

“Honey, I still don’t know how you could hear my alarm the other day, but you can’t hear me when I’m talking to you. I was right next to it, and I couldn’t hear it ringing.”

“Well, I spend all day, every day, listening for small sound changes. Heart murmurs, valves closing, that sort of thing. So big sounds just get tuned out. You talk all the time. You’re a big sound. I don’t even hear those anymore.”

…….

…….

…….

Well, there you have it.

ūüėČ