This is my little brother…I hope he doesn’t mind me using his photo. My brother and I are six years apart. He has been so much more than a little brother to me. He has been my friend. My partner in crime.Growing up both of our parents worked full time so it was just my little brother and I alot of the day. I would get him up each morning and help get him ready. I would walk him to and from school every day. He and I were all we had alot of times. From learning how to hook up the disconnected cable ( inside joke) ……to thumb- tacking blankets to the walls to make our SUPER RAD forts. From his first “beer” at 13. ( Ok, so I wasn’t ALWAYS the most responsible big sister but? ) There has never been a time in our lives that we have not held each other up. He is wiser than me in so many ways. He gets me. He knows my strengths and weaknesses . And yet he loves me in spite of them all. I have always been dubbed the strong-willed says- it -how -it -is one. He is the calm, cool and collected one. I tend to shoot from the hip. He steps back and thinks before he speaks. I am the one who spent most of my childhood grounded . He is the one who was SMART and learned from my mistakes and was almost never grounded. My little brother…..he holds a bigger part of my heart than he will likely ever know.
When my husband and I found out that we were expecting , we had a tough time coming up with names. I mean. When you already have three sons? You kind of start running out of ideas for another “perfect” name. You can’t forget the rules. There are very definate rules for picking your child’s name. FIRST: You must take nicknames into account. Who wants to be called “Dick” on a daily basis? People are mean enough as it is. SECOND:You have to take initials into account as well. Can’t have a kid with the initials A.S.S. or anything like that, right? You have to pick a name that will, hopefully, not get him beaten up in school. THIRD and MAYBE MOST IMPORTANT…MEANING: You want a name that will LEAP off a resume. A name that will look distinguished on a white lab coat. A name with history. A family name perhaps?
That kind of pressure is hard on a good day. It’s even more difficult when you are told that your child will not come home from the hospital with you. When you are told that this “perfect” name you pick will never be scribbled in crayon hanging on your refrigerator. Will never be written on a Christmas card with the rest of his brothers names. Will never be cheered for at a baseball game or soccer game. Will never be sung in a Happy Birthday song. It becomes this impossible …….journey of love and purpose to pick the perfect name.
We came up with the name Ethan. Prior to learning our sons diagnoisis , we had asked my brother if we could give a boy HIS name as the middle name. He gave us his blessing and it was all decided. Agreed upon. Done. Then we learned that Ethan would not be coming home with us. At all. Ever.
My husband and I scrambled to come up with a different middle name. I felt that it would be so unfair to my brother. To have his name given to a nephew that he would never hold. Would never know. Would never chase after or play with. I thought it would be easier for my brother if we “saved ” his name. I know how awful that must sound but at the time it made sense. At the time I thought i was sparing my little brother this…pain. This …burden.
I was talking to my brother online shortly after my husband and I decided on our sons name. And our conversation went a little like this….
Me: We’ve decided on a name for our baby.
Brother: What did you decide on?
Me: We decided on Ethan *********.
Brother: What happened to MY name? Not good enough …ha ha ha?
Me: Well, we just thought maybe you wouldn’t want us to give him your name now. I mean, your never going to hold him . Never going to get to know him. We thought it would be too hard for you.
( This is where he just melted my heart down to nothing but a puddle)
Brother: I would be honored if you gave him my name.
I will never be able to thank my brother enough. I will never be able to tell him what Ethan having his name has meant to me. To carry the name of one of the most precious men in my life. I think there are alot of people, in his place, who would have wanted their name “saved” for a very much alive nephew. Who would have insisted that their name be given to a nephew they could hold and love and play with. But not my little brother. He was honored to have our son carry his name.
I am the one that is honored. Honored to have this amazing man for my little brother. I love you Daniel!