Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Why we named you Noah Roger

Dear Noah,

At some point in your life you may wonder why we named you Noah Roger. This is not a name we came upon lightly. We really worked at picking your name. We took our time and we struggled with it. We wanted your name to mean something and to remind you throughout your life of where you came from and our hopes for you.
Let us start with "Noah." Noah was not my original choice. In the summer of 2011 as your father and I sat on the beach in Ship Bottom, NJ we talked about names. The beach was crowded and noisy so we would even practice calling out a name as if our child was playing in the waves. We took the names we were thinking of and put them into sentences that we imagined one day would be said.
Things like:
"Who got the lead in the school musical this year?" "Benjamin Meredith, again!"
"William Meredith you go to your room this minute!"
"Mom, I met a boy at school who I really like his name is Ben."
This went on for several days and many of our favorites was "Noah." It wasn't my favorite but I liked it and it was on the "short list" of names we were considering.
One night mid-August I was resting in bed when your Dad came in and said "I really like "Noah". I think it has good meaning. Noah followed God at a time when every one around him wouldn't listen. I think that would be a good namesake for our son."
I agreed. It seems that you will grow up in a generation where most of your peers don't know God. Don't go to church, don't read the Bible, aren't taught to pray or seek God's will for how they should live. Our wish for you is that you would be different. That you would know God and his principles and his love for you. That you would neccessarily be different and live differently because of your faith in God.
I knew that night that "Noah" was now your Dad's favorite name. It still wasn't mine but I liked your Dad's reasoning and decided to let the name sit for a while.
Little did I know that it wouldn't sit long.
Our world was about to change.
On Sunday August 28th our little valley was hit with a big flood. A flood that would change the coarse of the rest of my pregnancy, the first year of your little life, and the hearts of your closest family members. I watched your Dad, your Uncles and Aunts become heroes in that flood. I watched your father take on a role of leader for his family until his parents (your grandparents) could return to Schoharie. I watched three of your grandparents struggle, cope, and overcome. We all learned about loss and how the loss of things is really just that. There were moments I feared like I had never feared before. Feared even for my life, your life, and the life of those closest to me. In the long days that followed your Dad (often covered from head to toe in flood mud) worked from dawn till dusk. In one of the rare moments we were alone before he walked out the door to continue his labors he looked at me and said "Noah Roger" and I stared at him and nodded a firm yes.
And that (as they say) was that.
I did have moments of worry that people would think it was cheesy that we picked Noah following the flood...I didn't let those worries overtake me. Especially, when your Dad found a passage in scripture that confirmed would be "Noah."

Genesis 5.29
...called his name Noah saying, "out of the ground that the Lord has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and form the painful toil of our hands."

And you were a relief and a comfort to many. Even in the midst of flood recovery and rebuilding people saw me round with pregnancy and it gave them hope and relief and a sign of new life. In your infancy you blessed people just by being new and by providing a small break in the hard toil of post-flood Schoharie County. You were our Noah. Our relief. 

"Roger" was never really a negotiation as your middle name. My Pop (my maternal grandfather) was J. Roger Barber and he was one of my favorite men. He is remembered for his commitment. To his family, his farm, his community, and to education specifically. He was hard-working and busy and not perfect but he loved me. And I loved him. very. very. much.
It broke my heart a million ways when he passed away.
He left an impression on this valley, he left roots, he left legacy, he left a strong family with unbreakable bonds. However, you bear his name not because of what he meant to the world but because of what he meant to me. I knew long ago if I ever had a son he would have the middle name "Roger." You entered this county (our special corner of the world) exactly 9 years after he left it. The timing of that did not escape me...even as we drove you home on that sunny crisp autumn day.
I wish you could have known him. I wish he could have seen how blessed I am with you and Daddy. The best I can do is give you his name and raise you in his valley.
The most I can do is tell you of his strengths and let you grow in the shadow of his mountains.
All I can do is water the roots that grow beneath you, through a middle name, and deep into the heart of your Mother.

All my love dear boy,

1 comment:

  1. Kate, your tributes to your dad, your father, your husband, and especially to your son, are eloquent and moving, Pop would have been so proud.