Aidan Mariano: I call him Bub, Bubs, Bubba, Bubby, Bubbalicious, Bubsicle, My Boy, Snugga Bugga, Boo, Boo Boo, Stinker, Stinky Dink, hey you stop that! Let’s go let’s go do you have to go potty? Yes, you! Only sometimes, his given name, Aidan. One half of a palindrome. One half of my children. Aidan Mariano, Mariano after his great Uncle Nong. He shares the thick, straight lashes, deep brown eyes, and Filipino last name: no, not Padres like the baseball team, Prah like bra (yes, I said bra) and dez like Pez dispenser, if those even still exist. Aidan Mariano Prades. My you-made-me-a-mom boy. My Bub.
Nadia Merrill: I call her Sis, Sass, Sissaman, Squisherman, Sass Patrol, Sassapants, Saskatchewan. Also Stinky Dink and Bugga Boo. Bugga boozle, snoozle, schnoozle, can I get a schnitzel with noodle? Rarely, rarely, the mirror image of Aidan: Nadia. Never Nadia Merrill. Merrill, the middle name I hated because the Joshes and the Kevins of elementary school thought I said Merle, rhymes with Earl, a man’s name. No, two syllables, Mare-ull like Streep, but not with the Y. Like Mrs. Merrill my third grade teacher. Merrill like my mother and grandmother and great-grandmother and I’ve lost count of how many before. The first born daughters. I passed on the Merrill: family pride won out over childhood shame. Nadia like Comaneci. Nadia means hope. The first name we chose before her brother was born. We named him Aidan with hopes a Nadia would follow. We might end up with a Nadio, we joked. We didn’t. He got a sister, and I got my Sis.
I call them every name under the sun except the names we gave them. They cry whine whisper yell, “mama.” Just mama.
And it’s my favorite name.
This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in the series “A Name”.