As I settle down in front of my computer to share this happy news, my new grandson—born just two hours ago to daughter Meg—doesn’t yet have a name. I don’t know how long he is or how much he weighs or, most importantly, whether he has red hair. The one photo I’ve seen of him, a phone picture hastily snapped by his dad Andrew, shows a purple-faced little elf with eyes closed tight and a stocking cap pulled low over his ears.
In keeping with what they’d done with big sister Josephine, Meg and Andrew didn’t learn the sex of this baby until he was born. In an era of sophisticated ultrasounds and gender reveal parties, not-knowing isn’t the choice most expectant parents make. But I think the mystery makes the “look who’s here” a whole lot more fun.
This wee one’s last name is Yon. That’s not Asian or Scandinavian. It’s Italian. When Andrew’s great-grandparents got off the boat on Ellis Island back in the late 1800s and told authorities their name was Iontonion, they were told that wouldn’t work in America. From that day on, their name would be Yon. In the past few months of trying to think up monikers for a boy baby, I’ve suggested Don, Jon or Ron or—best of all–Lebron. Nothing like a rhyming name to make people remember you.
Meg and Andrew said no.
When the family got the group text early this morning that Baby Boy had arrived, his Uncle James immediately pitched the name James. I opined that Peyton would be perfect, for a number of reasons. For starters, Meg’s from Tennessee. That should be enough. She and Andrew live in Denver. As we all know, Peyton led the Broncos to a Super Bowl victory in 2016, the last year he played professional football. And (this should tip the scales the rest of the way!) Baby Boy Yon’s only male cousin on his mother’s side is named Eli. What better tribute than to name my bookend grandsons, with four granddaughters in between, after the Manning brothers?
That suggestion was quashed, too.
Hours have passed and I’m back at the keyboard. I spent the better part of the day pacing and pondering and finalizing plans for my upcoming trip to Colorado, where I’ll get to meet this little nimrod in person. The text I’d been waiting for finally came through around suppertime. It included an updated picture of the baby, who had pinked up nicely, with his big sister. Josephine appears to adore him, though I’m not convinced she understands he’s a permanent addition to her world.
I learned that grandboy is nineteen-and-a-half inches long, weighs a little over six pounds and isn’t a redhead. His name isn’t James or Peyton or Lebron. It’s even better. Welcome to the world, Oliver Henry Yon. I can’t wait to hold little you in my arms.
(August 12, 2018)