During a family gathering a couple of years ago, I found myself talking with the Nurse and the Artist about baby names, and what they might name the children they hoped to have someday.
Some time later, I had a vivid dream of sitting with them at their kitchen table. In my dream, the Artist was pregnant. They told me the baby was a boy, and they told me what his name, first and middle, would be. Back in waking life, I told them about the dream, and they replied, wow, that’s something – we were sitting at the kitchen table last night, talking about the possibility of naming a boy with those very names (though in their version, first and middle were reversed).
Nearly a year later when I heard the Artist was pregnant, I wondered if the baby was a boy, and if so, if they would use the name. I thought about what a fun story it would make to tell the kid as he grew up, a little piece of family mythology. It’s amazing how quickly and easily we transfer our dreams onto the next generation, creating expectations for them even before they fully exist here with us.
Yesterday, Nora June made her entrance into the world. It was an unexpected kind of entrance to parents who had spent months actively preparing for a natural birth, and years more thinking about how they would start and shape their family. Nora was a breech baby, who, despite all efforts to get her to turn, remained staunchly in place. We all assured the parents, only half jokingly, that she knew how she wanted to come into the world, that she was simply insisting on doing this in her own way. It was a powerful reminder to us all. Forget the plans and expectations; this baby has her own reasons for being here and her own things to do.
When my first niece, Elisa, was born, I made some promises to her about the support I will offer in this life she’s just starting to live. Already these two have different ways of coming into and being in the world, so I think different promises are in order. My promises to you, Nora June: I promise to always dream beautiful dreams for you. I promise to support you in finding your own way of moving through the world. I promise to read you your favorite stories over and over again, and to listen over and over to the stories you’ll love telling. I promise to teach you everything I can about this beautiful world we live in. I promise to remind your Dad of all the crazy and stupid things he did when he thinks something you want to do is crazy and stupid.