I imagine the holidays are harder for everyone who has lost someone dear to them. You still find ways to manage, but it definitely pulls at your heartstrings a bit. My family lost our grandpa almost 2 years ago, and though I wasn’t bursting into spontaneous tears like last year, there were still times when certain things brought me right back to when he was around, and a few times where I actually had to remind myself that he wouldn’t be apart of our Christmas festivities this year. Or, so I thought.
I’ve told this story a thousand time before, but we found out about the twins the day my grandfather passed away. I was 9 weeks pregnant, and though we had no idea what the sex was, I said to my husband, “If there is a boy in there, I would like to name him, Hugh.” I always wanted to name one of my son’s, Hugh, way before I was even married or having kids. My grandfather said to me, “Nah. Don’t ever name your kid Hugh. It’s a horrible name.” But, I always disagreed. He was the only grandpa I had. My father’s dad passed away when he was young, so did his mother, in fact, my mom’s parents were the only grandparents my siblings and I ever knew. So, they are like way super special to us. Because of that, I knew I wanted to name my son, Hugh.
When he passed, I was so upset, obviously for many reasons, but the main one was that he didn’t have the chance to meet my babies. There are so many times when the boys do something funny that I say to myself, “My grandpa would have loved to have seen these guys!” I also thought, I should have named my first son, Hugh, so he would have been witness to the name being passed through the generations. But, he wasn’t. I think there was a reason for that.
When we found out the babies were boys, I knew right away I wanted to name Baby B, Hugh. It just seemed ironic to me that the day we found out about the twins, was the same day my grandfather passed away. Embarrassingly, I really don’t know that much about twins. What I do know is that Baby A is the first baby out, which lead me to believe, right or wrong, that he was also the first one in there. I found it ironic that the day my grandfather passed away was the same day we found out about Baby B. We knew I was pregnant with one, but it was almost as if he gave Baby B a high-five on his way in as my grandfather was heading on his way out. And, I couldn’t help but feel this pull to Baby B as being somewhat representative of him. After lots of consideration, I asked my family if they would be OK with me naming the baby, Hugh, and using it as his name. (We call all our boys by their middle name…hubby’s family tradition.) I was worried hearing the name would be too fresh for a wound that hadn’t healed yet. We are such a close family and my grandfather was truly a patriarch. I didn’t want my grandmother to be upset every time we said the baby’s name. I was also concerned that he would always be compared to my grandfather because of his name. It took a while to get past this. In fact, I realized on Christmas this year, that I still had not fully associated my baby with his name as being his own. Leading up to the big day, I would think about my grandfather when I saw his Christmas tree all lit up, or the decorations he specifically bought my kids to put outside. He loved to decorate for the Holidays….any holiday! I always listen to the Big Band and Swinging 60’s Christmas music because it reminds me of him, and my own youth, at Christmas. I thought about him walking in the door at my new house to have a mimosa and breakfast on Christmas morning, with a big cheery, “Merry Christmas!” and anxious to see all the kids. Up until today, I would hear my son’s name and think, man, I am still not embracing this as my baby’s name yet. It still belongs to my grandfather. But, this time, as I was watching my kids eagerly open their presents, with Christmas music playing in the background, my grandmother and parents walking in the house for breakfast, someone yelled out, “Hughie!”, and there was this calm in me. I looked at my baby boy for the first time, and said, “Yup. Hughie.”, as if I made peace with it all at that moment. I was so grateful that I named him Hugh. That my grandfather’s memory lives on, everyday of our lives because we are always reminded of him when we hear or say my son’s name. It really is a beautiful thing.
And, just like my grandfather, my little Hughie is musically inclined. He loves to sing and dance. If you put a football and a piano in front of both boys, Harrison will go straight for the football, while Hughie is already singing and dancing while playing a tune on the piano. That was so my grandfather. Always wanting to be apart of the party. Baby Hughie’s personality is just like my grandfather, laid back, go with the flow. While Harrison is the mouth piece, the go-getter of the two. And, in true form of the original Hugh, baby Hugh loves to eat. And he eats with such gusto. Banging his hand down on the highchair tray. Doing the “happy dance” when we give him something he likes. And shovelling every bite into his mouth before someone else tries to take it from him. We were always yelling at my grandpa to slow down when he ate, and oddly, I find myself doing the same with this Hugh.
Timing is everything. That saying really applies here. I could have easily named my first son, Hugh, and though the sentiment would have been there, his personality is so different than my grandfather’s. Not that they have to match, but it’s nice to know that when you name someone after somebody it truly does complement them. Though he is no longer with us, physically, it’s like he’s here with us through little Hughie. When he sings, dances, eats…when we call his name, and see it in writing. I thanked my husband so many times for being agreeable to the name. It was one of the best gifts my husband has ever given me.