When Amy and I were younger we weren’t allowed to have candy on any day other than Saturday. Saturdays became known, appropriately and affectionately, as “candy day”.  We’d wake up, eat breakfast (maybe), and then head straight for the lower cabinet in the kitchen which housed the sacred wooden salad bowl filled with the forbidden foods. As we lifted the bowl with both hands, we’d journey ceremoniously to the living room where we would plop down on the carpet and indulge ourselves through episodes of Smurfs, Saved by the Bell, and Alvin and the Chipmunks.

On a different note, “Candy”, itself, could have been Amy’s name. For some reason beyond me, our dad was lobbying for the name back when Amy was born.  “Amy” won out and it’s a good thing if you ask my, oh so humble, opinion.

Of course, I’m not one to talk about names. Our fourth little bundle of joy goes by the name “South”.  After three days of deliberation and no official name, the panicked birth certificate lady busted into our hospital room needing it.  We were getting ready to leave so I guess we did need to make it official. After hitting a little opposition to the potential name, we had decided to wait a couple of days to be sure. Then, my husband said it. His name would be “Christopher South.” (“Christopher” is Amy and I’s mom’s maiden name and “South” is short for South Fork, a quiet mountain town in Colorado that is our heart and soul)

He would go by his middle name. (Christopher was too normal.) It made perfect sense to us and now it was in writing.

An odd sort of  confirmation had come our way the day before the papers were signed.

I was nursing our new little guy in the corner room of the maternity wing. Random sports clips were playing on television and I was partly paying attention, partly wondering when my next pain meds were coming, and partly thinking to myself, “Can we call this baby South?” That’s when it happened…..

South Africa had recently won a big soccer game. As I glanced toward the screen, BOOM…up popped a Rastafarian soccer fan being interviewed, He was an older gentleman, in dreads, and an enormous, multicolored hat with five letters disproportionately large across the top of it. SOUTH. Not South Africa. Just simply “South”.

Was that a sign??? If I followed some sort of Rasta spiritual movement, I might think so….But I don’t.

But truthfully, I mean, who would name their baby “South”?

Uh….well….this girl.  However,  that is exactly the type of questions we got from people close to us after we announced his name. (which is tough for someone with people pleasing tendencies….hello….me)

Actually, it was more like this…

Them: “Well, I’m not calling him South.”

Me: “Okay, well that’s what he goes by.” Smile. Nod. Heart race. Question myself. Doubt myself. Doubt my husband. Google “how to change your baby’s legal name.”

I began referring to little South, not by name, but rather in more generic terms calling him simply “the baby”.  At times, I would try calling him different names to see how it felt and became borderline obsessive compulsive over the issue. Combine this with crazy hormones, chapped nipples, (yeah I said nipples) sporadic milk let down, and extreme lack of sleep, and there is an issue. And the issue was full-fledged…Baby. Namer’s. Remorse. Public places with my newborn in tow became a dreaded experience.  It was sooo not normal. I would be able to feel the tiny baby lovers approaching me, almost like a sixth sense. My blood pressure would rise as inevitably they would ask, “How old is he?” and then, “What’s his name?”

Ugh. What is wrong with me?

Over dinner one evening, with some long-time girlfriends, I was sharing my dilemma. They listened, encouraged, and then one of them so wisely stated, “I mean, come on , it’s not like you named your baby ‘Hamburger’.” Relieved, we all smiled, shrugged in agreement, I felt better, then we ordered margaritas. But here’s the deal.  What if I did name him “Hamburger”? Celebrities name their children after food all the time, and there is probably a good story behind it. People should respect that.

(Okay, “Hamburger” is a little extreme, but I won’t judge.)

In fact, I know a sweet little boy named Chili.(Yes I said Chili)…And there is a Cedar, a Ridge, and a Canyon… A Denver, a Dallas, a Houston, and a Hondo (small south Texas town). I’ve met a North, an Easton, and a West. So why not South?

I’ve since grown a little of the proverbial alligator skin and am working towards giving up on people pleasing as it’s an impossible line of work.  I now own South’s name. I love hearing my kids and family call him “Southie” (his nickname) and can’t imagine him being anything else.

I sometimes wonder if Amy would have been named “Candy”, would her life be any different???

My thought is…..no.

I’ve come to believe and stand by this mantra: “It’s not the name that makes the person but, rather, the person that makes the name.”

Can I get an amen???


P.S.  Our other boys are named after Colorado towns as well. Creede (a small town close to Wilderness Ranch where my husband worked several summers) and Gunnison (the town where my husband went to college and where we lived when we first got married). Our daughter’s name is Adelyn (just because we liked it). So here comes the kicker. After baby number three, I find out that Ben’s great-grandfather’s middle name is….wait for it….Durango.  Well there you go. It’s genetic.