Monday, December 05, 2005


Why did you name me Javier, Dad?

Why did you name me Javier, Dad?

Why did you name me Javier, Dad?
My son Javier was asking me this question
As we were driving home from his T-Ball game

“Can I change my name when I get older? ”

Each one of my three other children
has asked me the same question
when they were about five or six years old.

My oldest son, Diego asked me one night
When I was reading him a go to bed book.
Why was I named Diego Jesus Marjil Barbosa-Mireles?
I informed him, as my first child, in which Imy wife let me pick the name,
That he was named
After the famous Mexican Muralist, Diego Rivera
And found out later,
that my Diego was born almost on the same day as his namesake,
100 years, minus one day.
He was named Jesus, after my older brother
Whom I never thought would have children
And named Marjil, after my grandfather.

But he was not impressed,
He still thought I should have probably named him
Bill, or Tom or another name that doesn’t take too much space.
And no one would notice the first day of school

Sergio Andres, my second oldest son,
Asked me the same question, when I was try to get him out of the bathtub
He said that the kids had a hard time saying his name and
Came up with words like Surgery and Sergio Valente
And words we can’t say in a family style poem
Finally he said “Didn’t you know any English names Dad? ”
I told him his mother and I purposely
picked Spanish names that could not be easily changed to English ones
Like Carlos to Chuck, Juan to John and José to Joe.

But when my daughter Lorena Pilar
asked me right before I had fallen asleep trying to read to her
Why she named her Lorena.
I told her that it was the most beautiful name
I could ever think of

and why would she want to be
one of the thousands of Jessica’s or Amber’s or Tiffany’s
she was very hurt and thought I was punishing her
or something

which gets us back to my youngest son Javier,
who was initially named Oscar Javier
but after less than 24 hours of repeatedly hearing
“little Oscar” “little Oscar” Little Oscar”
in the nursery room of the Hospital

my wife and I agreed that we would not subject him to 20 years of that
so we switched his name to Javier Oscar

and I was ready to give my personal cultural pride speech
to my six year old and was about to open my mouth wide with advice
when suddenly I got this inspiration, this imspiration
to keep quiet and say nothing
and listen to what my son had to say

“you know Dad,
I want to change my name when I get older
to Oscar,
so I can be more like you…”

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