Monday, October 8, 2012

Her Name is Fawn

Fawn came home from the hospital in this outfit 

My third child turned thirty years old today.  Her name is Fawn.  I've only met a couple of other people in my lifetime with the same name, and one of them had a rather peculiar spelling.  But it seems to fit her well.  If everyone was matched up with a particular animal on the basis of appearance, she could easily be described as a deer with her slender build, long-legs and big doe-like eyes.  Where her name's concerned, I'd say her dad and I got it right.  But we almost didn't.

Fawn seems to always be running a bit late.  When she calls she'll usually preface the conversation with "Mom, I'm running late."  In fact, of all four of my children, she was the only one that came after she was due.  The first two both arrived on the exact day and her little sister had the courtesy to show up early.  But Fawn arrived five hours after midnight, the day after.  No, she wasn't terribly late, she never is.  Just a little late.  I still remember my mother's call the evening before asking if my labor had started.  Nope, not yet.  She confidently assured me that I'd have my baby by the next day.  She was right.  I called her early the next morning to tell her that she had a new granddaughter.  She wasn't even the least bit surprised.
When I gave that final push during that early morning hour and heard we had a girl, I knew what we would call her, a name I'd loved since I first heard it while in college.  It belonged to one of the most striking girls on campus and had fit her perfectly.  When I called my mother that morning to tell her that we had a new little girl, she already knew her name.  In fact, it wasn't a surprise to anyone.  We'd told most everyone the names we'd picked out, both for a boy and a girl.

The name wasn't received well by some of our church people.  I attributed it to the area.  Bradford County is made up of mostly country folk, so I assumed they preferred more traditional things, including names.  Whatever.  I still liked it.  And besides,  they'd get used to it.  It would grow on them over time.   But the response of one especially close friend still bothered me.  "If you have a little girl, I'll love her," she had told me.  "But I'm not sure I'll be able to call her by her name."  Ouch.

As I held that new little baby girl in my arms on that first day, I called her by the name I had held on reserve all those years. But I was uneasy, something didn't feel right.  When Larry came in that evening I told him that I was thinking we might want to rethink this whole name thing. As much as I loved what we'd chosen,  I needed for others to like it as well. I asked him to bring me the  baby book of names from the house.
I hadn't remembered putting a star by the name Fawn in the little paperback.  But there it was.  I stared at it for a moment then ran it over my tongue.  It sounded right.  I continued to look through the book noting what else I had highlighted at some point in my pregnancy,  but I was only half-reading.  I sensed that I'd already found the right one,  certainly not as common as some might like, but one our friends could learn to live with.  When Larry later walked into my room,  I showed him what I had found.  "And we could use your mother for the middle name," I said.  He smiled. 

My friend Tina Laudermilch stopped at a children's boutique in Towanda, bought a little outfit and brought it to the hospital just a few hours before we were both to be released.  I opened the wrapping to find a red velvet outfit with puffed sleeves and a little white collar. "I thought you might like to have something new for her to wear going home," she said.   I felt the soft fabric and then reached to tear off the cardboard tag that was attached to the sleeve.  I couldn't believe my eyes!  I asked Tina if she'd looked at the tag.  She shook her head.  There imprinted was the picture of a deer, and above that in large bold-print letters was the word FAWN.

I have told my daughter many times the story of her name and how we chose it.  She has used it now  for thirty years and has thanked me over and over for not staying with the original.  She's not all that crazy about it either.   Actually, it's thirty years minus one day, for in the archives of one particular newspaper, she is known by another name, the one she had for that entire first day.  After I called my mother,  she contacted the Olean Times Herald that very morning and had a birth announcement placed in the paper.  It's in print that on that very day,  Friday, October 8, 1982, I gave birth to a daughter, Love Lee. 

Fawn all grown up.  She has lived up to BOTH of  her names!


Cathy said...

Love it! Cathy

BRAD VAJDA said...

I always loved Fawns name! And autumns also!!! They were always my favorite people along with Ruthie Blaine that would attend Chambers Summer Camp with me:)

BRAD VAJDA said...

Oh and this is Jackie Belcher (now Jackie Vajda):) I used my husbands (Brad) account to post:)