The one thing I want to leave my children is an honorable name. January 17, 2012
We get asked a lot of questions about Campbell’s name. Where did it come from? Is it a family name? What does it mean? And the answer is… nowhere. no. nothing.
OK, that’s not entirely true. Aaron watches a show called Damages that has an actor named Campbell Scott on it. He saw it on screen one day and it stuck with him. He was pretty sold on it right away, actually. I took longer to convince. We wanted something that sounded like it could be anything – a writer, a doctor, a stay-at-home mom, a bum on the street. You know, whatever she wanted to be.
(The part where it doesn’t mean anything isn’t entirely true, either. According to the baby sites, Campbell means ‘crooked mouth.’)
I have a bit of a hang up about names. See, I’ve never liked mine. (Sorry, mom.) I don’t feel like it suits me. It sounds cheerleader-y, ditzy, stripper-y. Seriously. Anytime there are a bunch of women on TV trying to, like, win the love of Bret Michaels, I guarantee three of them will be named Brandi. Brandy. Brandie. Brandee. (That one’s the worst.)
So naming our little girl was a daunting task for me. I didn’t want to saddle her with something she hated. I wanted her to have options. But mostly, I didn’t want people to have an idea of who she was before they actually met her.
The longer we talked about Campbell, the more it grew on me. It sounds solid to me, grounded. There aren’t any famous and also trashy people named Campbell. It’s unique, but not crazy. It’s a word people know and know how to spell. I was starting to feel it. Then Aaron brought in the big guns – the middle name. Louise. After my grandmother.
This is my grandmother, Louise. (And my mom, Nelda.) (And me.)
I loved the idea of using a family name, and Campbell Louise flows so well. I was excited to honor my Mawmaw, the lady who took care of her giant family and raised my mom and introduced us to chocolate pie. Plus, she’d had a great nickname – Tootsie. Toots. Totally cute for a baby girl.
Then my Mawmaw got sick. She had a stroke, and then another one. She lost use of the right side of her body. She started forgetting who people were. A blood clot. A broken hip. She started talking to people who had died years ago. She got a little better, then a little worse. She couldn’t swallow food. When asked, she would say her name was “Number 29″. It was rough on my family, especially my mom. It was hard for me to be so far away from them.
Mawmaw passed away on November first. Her body had just had enough. The service was scheduled for the following Saturday. My mom was freaking out that Campbell would come sometime that week. I spent a lot of time talking to my stomach, asking her to please just hold out. Stay in there until after the funeral. The service was at 11am on Saturday. I started having contractions at noon.
The original Toots and Toots the Second missed each other on earth by just a few days. But I like to think they’ve got a connection.