Friday, 14 October 2011

I'm In The Pocket Just Like Grady Tate

If Grady turned out to be a lady baby, we would have named her Mabel. Shawn was pushing for Penelope but I would have won the lady baby name battle (we almost named Stella Penny and that would be weird in my head.)

Shawn and I had a lot of difficulty picking Grady's name. We started off at completely different ends of the baby boy names spectrum. When forced to define our naming styles, Shawn's choices fell into the "future rockstar" category while mine were more "fancy little gentleman, preferably with a British accent." Veto power was not used sparingly is what I'm saying.

We could not find a middle ground. Shawn continued to come up with rocker names (Axel, Maverick, etc) and I continued to love my little gentleman names (Finnian, Milo, etc.) It wasn't just our naming styles holding us back, though. We also had a few naming clauses that tripped us up.  

Clause #1: name must not be 1-syllable because of longstanding family tradition-mandated middle name of Shawn (tradition is that firstborn son is given his father's first name as his middle name. So ... sorry future hypothetical partner of Grady who has to work with Grady as a middle name for their hypothetical firstborn son.)  

Clause #2: name must not end in "an" or "en" sound because the last syllable of Shawn and Grady's 2-syllable last name is "an" and is way too rhymey with names like Brendan or Aiden. 

Clause #3: name must be Irish or at least feel Irish. (Shawn's clause.) 

Clause #4: name must not be too Irish because of Shawn and Grady's extremely Irish last name. (My clause.)

Clause #5: name must not be Willie or anything else that sounds like, or can be rhymed with, any slang word for penis (Shawn's BULLSHIT clause.) (Willie is a rad name and I would have loved to name Grady Willie but whatever, I've never been a boy on a school playground so FINE, SHAWN, I respected this clause.) 

I halfheartedly suggested Grady about halfway through the pregnancy. I honestly wasn't that into it but Shawn loved it. I didn't hate it, it just didn't feel like it was the name. I was waiting for an aha! moment I think (which is silly because I've never really been an aha! person.) We continued to fall in love with completely different names (him: Maximus and Ewan, me: Leo and Bennett.) Shawn kept coming back to Grady, though.

Roughly eight weeks before Grady was born, I saw Grady suggested to a reader on Swistle's baby name blog. Seeing it in a different context, with the other names Swistle suggested alongside it, made me see the name Grady in a new light.  I decided to get serious about Grady. I needed to either love it or veto it but I couldn't keep maybeing it. I already knew about Big Sugar's Grady (Shawn's a fan, I'm eh) but in my Grady research, I discovered Grady Martin. As a session musician, he played guitar on many of Willie Nelson's albums and later toured with Willie's band. Not only that, he helped shape Willie's song On the Road Again.

On the Road Again is a song that will forever remind me of my dad. When I was a kid, we used to go camping every summer. We'd pack up the station wagon until it was busting at the seams, all six of us would pile in, and we'd set off for 5 hours of cramped, sweaty driving until we reached the campsite. Dad would always put the Willie Nelson cassette into the tape player and blast On the Road Again and sing along and car dance while pulling out of the driveway.

Finding out about Grady Martin was sort of my aha! moment. Grady isn't named after Grady Martin or Big Sugar's Grady (or Grady Tate, for that matter) but it's our way of finding meaning in his name. I'm nostalgic about Grady Martin's connection to Willie Nelson and Shawn is pleased with the connection to talented musicians.

After our maternity photos were done, I didn't let myself think about names again.


  1. What a GREAT naming story. I LOVE it.

  2. I love it! It really is a great name, and such a great story to go along with it!

    I have some friends who have a 2 year old named Mabel and she's one of the cutest damn kidlets I've ever seen. And it's such an adorable name.

  3. Great story how you guys came to naming your son. I wonder what the process will be like when get to that point. I'll need some vetoes for sure!

  4. I LOVE this story and especially the clause about a name that "Feels" irish. LOL

  5. Awesome naming story! I love naming stories. Also, I love the name Milo, but couldn't sell it to Noah, either.

  6. I love the story and I love his name. Grady is perfect. I even suggested it to a pregnant friend recently because I love it so much.

  7. I REALLY like Grady's name. It's rare, but not unheard of, and sounds like a future rockstar AND a fine young British Gentleman.

    My brothers' and I all have names than end in AN (Megan being mine, obviously). My older brother has a name that is now being seen more for girls, but my younger brother has an amazingly rare name that I absolutely love.
    When my older brother's son was born in January, he and his girlfriend stuck with the AN for his first name as well. His middle name, Lee, is my older brother's middle name. Lee was the middle name of my dad's younger brother who died when my dad was 19 and he was 17. He was my dad's best friend, and when my dad had a son, he passed this important name on to him. Since we never met this uncle who meant so very very much to our dad, my brothers and I have always felt attached to the name. My nephew's grandmother on his mother's side is called Leigh (and is suffering from severe MS)-so it worked well to honour both these people.
    I'm a little sad that they used the name they did, only because I wanted to use it one day! Now I just have to figure out how to use my little brother's name without my older brother getting upset I didn't also honour him :P

  8. So glad you shared this! I've been wondering about how he got his name.

    My husband's family has the EXACT same naming tradition, so our first born son's middle name will be Michael. Which, boring, but also super easy to work with. This also means that I've pretty much claimed all other naming decisions. If his family is going to dictate any part of what I name my kids, then that's all they get. I get the rest.

    Fair right?

  9. what a great naming story!! i do LOVE grady's name - like lifeisacrapshoot said, it's very unique and interesting without being uncommon or weird.

    (that's actually what i like about my own name as well - there aren't a lot of us, but everyone knows the name alice!)

  10. Aw, I love this story!

    Grady has been one of my favorite boy names since I met a sexy (and charmingly sweet) pilot named "Grady" at my old job. And I love that you mentioned "Milo"—that is the name my heart is already set on (for the moment) in case Jay and I have a son.

    And I just love that maternity photo, by the way. So cute!

  11. I really like the name Grady, and this is a great story. I haven't every met a Grady, and it's so HARD to fine a nice, unique name that resonates with both of you and works with other naming requirements.