Stories and thoughts about family and life

When Lucas becomes Luke

on April 29, 2013

The year 2000 had gone, pretty much, in a blur.  I was nearing the end of my seventh month as fall approached, and I pondered the fact that we didn’t have a name yet.  We had tossed a few around, but nothing really “stuck.”  I had read in a baby book that you should go out on the back porch and yell the name you choose every night for a couple of weeks and see if you tire of hearing it.  I didn’t really want our neighbors to think we were quite that nuts, so I just repeated the options over and over in my head.  I didn’t hate any of them, but I wasn’t in love with them either.

We were driving somewhere, and Louis was behind the wheel.  I was staring out the window, contemplating the various names thus far.  Then it hit me.  “I think I like Lucas,”  I said.  Louis didn’t miss a beat  “like George Lucas?  I really like that!”  Of course he would, being the Star Wars aficionado that he was/is.  That wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but okay.  We discussed the name for a few days, and decided we like it–far more than anything else we had tossed around.  Before we knew it “he” had become Lucas.

By the beginning of the ninth month, we still didn’t have a middle name.  We were leaning toward Daniel, but hadn’t quite settled.  We knew I was having a c-section, if I didn’t go into labor on my own before my due date.  This was due primarily to the size of his head, and I had been diagnosed with gestational diabetes.  As we were visiting with my obstetrician on afternoon a week or two before delivery, he asked us about the name.  “I know you have a first name,” he said.  “What have you selected to go with Lucas?”

Without hesitation I said “Skye.”  He nodded and continued writing in my file when it hit him.  Yes, you read that right.  Lucas Skye Walker  (aka Luke Skywalker).   Now, we hadn’t really chosen Skye as the middle name.  We just liked messing with everyone who asked.  It was truly surprising the number of people who thought it was an excellent idea.  Personally, I had seen a lot of kids saddled with ridiculous names, and I couldn’t bear the thought of putting him through that.    Dr. Harrison dropped his pen and whirled around to face me.  “I will not sign that baby’s birth certificate if you do that to him!”  As he made eye contact with me he realized I was laughing.   So, Lucas became Lucas Daniel.  We always said we would let him choose what to call himself later on.

It didn’t take long for Lucas to wish his middle name was Skye.  We’ve actually had the conversation repeatedly.  He’s not fond of Daniel, and he loves the idea of being Luke Skye Walker.  We’ve always told him he can change it when he’s older, or we can just use it in quotes.  I’m glad he gets such a kick out of it, but I’m glad we didn’t actually name him that and it end up that he hated Star Wars.

And then he turned 10.  He started a new school, and he was exceptionally bashful.  He made a connection with his first male teacher ever, and that teacher began calling him Luke.  I approached the subject one afternoon when we were riding home from school.  “Do you not want to be called Lucas anymore?”  I asked.  He hesitated and then said, “I really like being called Luke.”  My heart sank, if only for a moment.  I always knew he would likely end up being Luke.  I just figured it would be one of those things that happens when you become an adult and your friends all shorten your name.

He still obligingly answers when I call him Lucas, but I really am making an effort to call him Luke.  It’s hard for me.  It’s aging him prematurely in my eyes and it feels almost as if I’m talking about another person.  I had friends in school who shortened my name too, but I honestly don’t use the shortened version.  I still go by my name.  Although, admittedly, my name isn’t anything nearly as cool as Luke, and certainly not Luke Skye Walker.  🙂

And so it begins.  The first of many situations where I’m sure I will feel myself aging before his eyes, as he is before mine.  My eyes are his eyes, and I can see them staring back at me when he is telling me a secret or excitedly telling me about his day.  Those long fingers on his hands are my same fingers, adeptly playing his clarinet the way mine stroll across the computer keyboard.  We’re so different, and so much the same.  My baby isn’t such a baby anymore.  And I can only imagine the wonderful things he’s going to do with his life.  Kind of like Luke Skywalker.


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