What’s in a name?


Dear Charlie,

One day you will sit in a classroom while your teacher will do a roll call and after 3/4s of your class has been called, he or she will sound your name. Hopefully they won’t pronounce it wrong. You and your brother have pretty normal names. Pretty normal old English men names. (You don’t even have to postulate; this has everything to do with your mama having a weird name complex).

To be honest, we had no idea what we were going to name you. We had a short list of favorites with your older brother, but after a couple years, our affection for those names waned (nor did we want to give you sloppy seconds). We went on on a date to Yard House and over turkey burgers, onion rings and fries we vowed to not leave until we named you.

About an hour in, it was looking bleak. And not just because the Yard House is so dark all the time. We had each pulled out the Social Security Administration list of baby names and were rattling names off to each other between bites. Out of nowhere, your dad said, “What about Charlie?” I almost spit out my Diet Coke. “Really??” Charlie has been a long favorite of mine. Charlie’s the name I’ve always wanted to name my son since I was 16. Actually when I got my first new used car, I did not have the brain development for the satisfaction of delayed gratification and hastily named it Charlie. (That car died a year after I moved up to the Bay Area. RIP Charlie the Ford Escort.) Moreover, we had hesitated on naming your brother Charlie because there was a surge of other parents who also named their sons Charlie (It’s a great name, everyone agrees!!). But your Dad and I agreed that enough time has passed and you can be Charlie. I know your name means “man” (it does not get more meaningful than that…), I hope that you remember that we named you “Charlie” because that name has long been treasured in our hearts, so very much like you. On the eve of your first birthday, I am especially grateful for you. We were meant to be together. You brought out something different in each of us and we are a better family because you are in it. (Oh and the Ernest is a very obvious nod to your uncle who is one of the coolest people we know.)

In short, you can tell people that your mom named you after her first station wagon.



Other nicknames we have given you since your birth…

  1. Carlos Carnitas – I think carnitas you tasted and you were OBSESSED. You would shovel handful after handful into your mouth and earn yourself a post-meal bath because you smelled so porky after.
  2. Char-Char – Isn’t it some kind of rite of passage that you are subjected to the first syllable of your name is repeated as a nickname?
  3. Charizard – Your dad went through a very intense Pokemon stage when you were incubating. This moniker plays tribute to that very dark period in our family’s life.

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