I have to admit that my youngest son has a funky name. Obviously, Wendell and I love it. And except for a few of you bloggers (and I think some of you may be lying) no one else does. This is part of the reason that we kept it a secret until he was born. Who wants to deal with people saying, "That's a terrible name. Way too weird. You absolutely can't name your baby THAT."
Unfortunately, people's reactions after he was born were only slightly better. This is what the conversation sounded like on my end just hearing Wendell make phone calls.
W: Hey, we called to tell you we had our baby this morning. Yeah. 8 lbs 8 oz. That's small for us. We named him Cohen Beck. Yeah, Cohen. C-O-H-E-N. 'Cause we liked it. Just two names we liked. No, he's not named after anyone. He and Jenna are doing great. She's a little tired right now, but you can visit later today or she'll be in the hospital until Sunday.
Wendell had to say this over and over.
"Wow," I said later, "I never knew 'Cohen' would be so hard. If we want him to go by that we'll have to teach him to spell it very young. Like Anson. You remember, honey? He could spell his name starting at 2."
My dad's mom, Grandma Harris, hates unusual names. But she's pretty gracious about it to the new parents, then she tells everyone else in the family how weird the name is. On Thanksgiving, we tried to prep her.
G: What are you naming your baby?
J: It's a secret. We'll call you next week when we have him. But Grandma?
J: You're gonna hate this name.
(Laughter by all within earshot.)
G:Oh. Can't you name him something classic like James or Jonathon?
J: No. We like this name, but you won't.
In the car Wendell and I talked about the names Grandma threw out. James. Our Nathan is already Nathan James, both classic family names. My sister named her youngest son Benjamin James, to which Grandma said, "Didn't Jenna name her son Nathan James?" Implied here was, why would you use James again?
Yet, when Wendell called Grandma, she was gracious. She kept saying, "Cohen Beck, I like it," over and over. Poor Grandma was probably prepared for something much weirder. She may have been prepping for us to call and say, "We're naming our son 'Waltzing Matilda' and we're calling him 'Walt.'"
My mom's mom was a different story. We didn't get a hold of Grandma Kirkwood that day, so my mom called her. This is her version of the story.
Mom: So Jenna and Wendell named the baby Cohen Beck.
M: Cohen. C-O-H-E-N. Cohen Beck.
G: Cohen's not a name. It's a bunch of letters stuck together.
M: No, no. Cohen's a name--a last name.
G: Who's last name?
M: Well, it's a fairly common Jewish last name...
G: Alright then, who in the family is Jewish?
When my mom told me this story I was laughing so hard my incision hurt... a bunch of letters stuck together... By the end of the conversation, though, Grandma was coming around and said the name was "all right."