Eighteen years ago, above the swish-shish of the ultra sound machine, I heard the doctor announce, “Without a doubt, this one’s a boy.” Soon I was blinking back tears of joy which spilled into worries of how much pink in our existing nursery needed to be replaced with a cute hue of blue. Then, after dismissing the nursery rhyme line of “snakes and snails and puppy dog tails,” I finally allowed myself the precious pontification, “What will we call him?”
There is something so monumental about assigning a child a name that will be his calling card, his introduction, his label of who he is for the rest of his life. Having had two other babies in five years, we, of course had some boys’ names as back-up just in case. But at the moment when it wasn’t just a possibility he would be a boy, but a fact he was, choosing a name took on even more responsibility.
As a teacher, several names that had been favorites over the years often became unflatteringly attached to the mannerisms of another child who also just happened to answer to the once favored name. That shortened the possible-name-list a bit. And having had a Megan and a Katelyn, we needed a brother’s name that sounded like it could be said in the same breath as the others. “Megan, Katelyn, Frank—time to eat!” just didn’t sound natural.
So it was, we came up with a name. The baby books said it was Irish which went well with his sisters. They also said it meant “Little King” which sounded like a name that should certainly lead a child to a life of confidence and success.
And soon after, our “Little King” was born and we removed the “Baby Boy Bundy” sign and christened him “Ryan”. Not long after that, he would assume the alternate titles of grandson, nephew, baby brother, big brother, and “little Brad”.
Over the years he would also answer to “Ry”, “Ry-guy”, “Bundy” and, at the age of 9, after mistakenly climbing into the Tasmanian devil’s pit at the zoo (and hurriedly climbing out) he became known as “Taz-Bundy”.
Later, he’d grow into other names. By his own efforts, he has been referred to as friend, volunteer, fan, student, musician and athlete. In sports he’s been numbers 14, 34, 1, and for the last four years, 2.
Still today, he has earned yet another name: “Graduate”. And as he prepares to leave Wyoming High School and walk his path to Miami University and the endless stage of the world, I can’t help but to marvel at the amazing young man he has become and how much he has blessed my life from that first moment of the tell-tale swish-shish of the ultra sound machine. It’s then I realize that of all the names, nicknames, and monikers he has had over the years and will have in the future, there is one of his titles that fills my heart, meaning the most to me: “Son”.