Sunday, January 3, 2010

Musicals and The Legend of Enzo's Name

On Musicals:
I'm not a big fan of musicals. To get into a movie or a play one really has to either be impressed with the art or one has to be able to suspend disbelief. And, I just find it difficult to suspend disbelief when people are singing about everything all of the time. Sure, I have fond memories of The Sound of Music and Fiddler on the Roof because of my grandma, so those ones are okay. And, I have to admit, the movie Chicago was pretty entertaining and Grease is okay, especially the last song. So, I'm not supporting my original statement very well here, am I? Still, I'll say it again, I just don't care for musicals. But I do like to sing once in a while. Who hasn't done a "pee-pee dance" when the bathroom was occupied? And, who hasn't once in a while made up lyrics and a song to go along with the "pee-pee dance?" When I rode my first motorcycle home, April 25th, 1998, I was so happy that I sang at full volume inside my helmet the whole way home making up the words and tune as I went along with a smile so big it surely must have been busting out of my helmet. So, life can be a little like a musical sometimes. And that's my point here. Having Enzo just makes it easier to break into song. Everything kind of has a rhythm to it so, for just one of many examples, today when I wanted to check his diaper I spontaneously ended up singing a new Randy original that began with:
"Pee-pee son?, pee-pee son?,
Who has pee-pee on his bum?
Pee-pee diaper, pee-pee diaper,
Who would like a clean one?"
You know, it's about as silly as half the numbers in a musical but at least I can now explain to myself that the writers of musicals probably have children and my world makes a little more sense to me. I'm still not sure why people were impressed with the Miss Saigon musical but then I saw it long before I had a child.

On The Legend of Enzo's name:
We all, I believe, like to attach meaning to aspects of life. Tami and I certainly did want meaning attached to Enzo's name. We started months ago with a web site link that let friends, family, and whomever submit names for the "Name The Kid Contest." The prize for the winners of the "Contest" is the honor and coolness of knowing that they named another human. When the list reached about 120 names we narrowed it down to 20. Over the next few weeks names were added and deleted and I would estimate approximately 150 names were proposed. Tami and I would consider the comments people entered with the names they proposed and we would do internet searches to look for meaning in the names and we would consider how we liked the names in general for our son. As we got closer to the big day, we were definitely talking more and more about certain names than others so I would say there were about seven names in the strong running by Christmas.

One of the names we liked was Lorenzo. As I mentioned, we were looking for meaning and of course, words mean different things for different people. Lorenzo, to us, meant a great accomplishment. Our son was sure to be our great accomplishment and the name fit. We also liked the 'z' in there. Lorenzo is Spanish for Laurence which traces back to the laurel plant which is a symbol of accomplishment. It was what the ancient Olympic winners wore on their head, wreaths of laurel. I mentioned to Tami that if we chose that name, he could go by Enzo which sounds super cool. And Tami said, "Or, we could just name him Enzo." Well, that makes sense. Honestly, I'm kind of tired of clarifying that I go by Randy though my name is Randolph. Why not skip all that with our son and go straight to the name he will go by? Ever since then, Enzo was in the running though we never got around to adding it to our web list of potential names that friends and family were checking in on.

Another name we liked is Raines. It was added to our "Name The Kid Contest" list by Laurie who you see holding our beautiful boy in the picture. She liked the name from Memphis Raines, a character in the movie Gone in 60 Seconds. The name does sound cool.

One day I was walking downtown when I came across friends on the patio of the local pub and we started talking about the name search. I told them there were still about 20 names on the list plus one I hadn't gotten around to typing but that I liked: Enzo. They asked what the other names were so I started reading them off from my phone. One of them, I'm not sure which, heard them and said "Enzo Raines!" That started it. All four of them, Matt, Mitra, Nathan C. and Ona, started talking about how cool Enzo Raines was for what I recall as a non-stop 20 minute discussion. Much praise was heaped on the name. At one point Matt said something to the effect of "Enzo Raines is so cool, that needs to be his name" when, with the timing of a Hollywood movie, we heard a very nice motor sound, turned to the street, and there was a Ferrari to punctuate his statement. If you didn't know, Enzo Ferrari is THE Ferrari of exotic car fame, the man that created the cars and the Ferrari company. Well, that was as definitive of a sign as Matt and Nathan needed. I promised to mention the name combo to Tami when I got home.

Days later, several great names were still in the running, Tami decided we were close enough and we would wait to meet The Kid in person to learn what his actual name is. Labor began Saturday night (actually at 1 a.m. on Sunday morning) with multiple contractions per hour. There went sleep. That night and for the next three days and three nights we stayed awake on very little rest while Tami had these contractions, waiting for them to build to the point where we could go in and deliver our son. So, we went for a walk each day. The sky started out dry each time but during the walk we would be pleasantly rained on and it was a good experience. Tami commented once on how the rain was cleansing and preparing us for our new experience as parents. After four nights and three days of labor contractions, and three days of walks in the rain, Raines become the front runner for our son's middle name. We liked it. I love water, I love the idea that one of our son's names is something real and tangible in nature, we liked the sound, and we liked the fact that our sons name said something about his way of coming out into the world. On the fourth night since contractions began, walking home in the rain for the third time, it was time to go deliver our baby. By this point, we knew our son's middle name. And that narrowed down the list of first names to create name combinations that we liked.

When our son was born, 15 hours of laboring in the hospital later (we showed up at 9 pm on Tuesday and Enzo emerged at 12:03 pm on Wednesday) I asked him his name. I said several of the names to him over and over from the list that Tami and I were still considering and I watched his expressions. He liked Enzo. Tami and I and friends and family provided the name options, as parents we guided the selection, nature and our son's emerging experience chose his middle name, and our son, through facial expressions at the sounds, chose his first name. And that's how we, Tami and I, give meaning to our son's name. That's our legend of the name Enzo Raines. In my own words his name translates as: Our great accomplishment, born of water.

Like any cool tattoo, and a name is a bit like a tattoo, we can define and refine the meaning for it over time while in everyday life, it's just cool for what it is.

So, the winners for the "Name The Kid Contest" are:
Tami and Randy for the Enzo suggestion
Laurie for the Raines suggestion
Matt, Mitra, Ona, and Nathan C. for the name combo suggestion
Nature and Enzo for the final selection and giving meaning to the names.

And now, Tami and I have Our Great Accomplishment, Born of Water.


  1. What a beautiful story! And how fortunate that Enzo has such an eloquent father to tell the tale. After reading the last couple of entries here, I decided to go back and start from the beginning. You really do have a wonderful way with words, sir. It has been a joy to read about your adventures, both the fun and the challenging. I hope you will continue to write as Enzo grows and changes. I guarantee it will be a remarkable gift for "The Kid" someday.

  2. Thank you Melissa for your encouraging words!

  3. awww, it really is a beautiful much meaning in a name isn't there?

  4. Congratulations, Randy and are in for the ride of your life!

    Aunt Sally & Uncle John