Named from a Cracker Jack box, I should hardly be choosy.
Fifty cents at a baseball game, the prize like an afterthought at the bottom of the box. A tiny booklet, as I imagine it: an inch by inch square, caramel-sticky and dusted with crumbs. My father thumbed through until he saw it there: Kirsten. A replacement for Katherine, the name they had chosen in case I happened to be a girl. In 1977 THEY had no choice to know or be surprised. No cake sliced open to reveal pink or blue, only the voice of a doctor at the foot of a bed: It’s a girl!
We are three weeks from hearing that voice on the other side of a surgical curtain. Maybe just a pronoun. He or she will come into this world without a name, squirming and birth-slick and already full of life and personality that will unfurl gently over time, as petals open to the light.
I remember waiting for Lincoln to be born, watching the winter Olympics with Sawyer, who overflowed with personality from the get-go. He would cry “BOB! BOB!” every time Bob Costas appeared on the screen. Suffering through a month of ear infections, we did little other than watch TV and snuggle on the couch as I waited for labor to begin.
How can I love another child so much? I fretted over this question. I did not know how this would be possible, how my heart would have enough room for two. I felt bad for the yet unknown second child, stretching against the walls of my belly. But I learned a secret when I first took Lincoln in my arms, groggy from unplanned surgery: the heart has many rooms, which open as there is need.
Already mine is stretching, just as my skin stretches week by week. I know that in a short time, every moment will be colored with a new life that I cannot yet imagine. And then I will struggle to remember what it was like before, this very moment of typing and waiting while only three children sleep in three beds. Three to four, just as we went none to one, one to two, two to three.
There will be room enough. And I hope that a name will be drawn as though from the air and light upon him or her perfectly like a crown.