My mom tells the following story whenever the opportunity presents itself. When I was just a little older than Beau, my dad and I walked over to our next door neighbor’s house. When we arrived, our neighbor had a contractor over. Upon my dad meeting him, he excitedly told me that his name was “Brent” too.
I didn’t share my dad’s enthusiasm.
A meltdown ensued as I demanded he change his name because there could only be one “Brent” in the world. Never mind the fact that he had the name first, I was predestined to be the sole Brent to walk the planet. My tantrum was intense.
Last night at Sloan’s t-ball game, Beau played with the son of a fellow team parent. This little boy was also 3 years old, born in February, and…(drum roll)…named “Beau.” It was the first time that Beau had hung out with someone who shared his name. And, no, he did not suffer a breakdown like his daddy did 30+ years before him.
We did chat with the parent about names and identities. To us, Beau is Beau (if that makes sense). He encapsulates the name in our minds. For another little boy to also have the name does feel a tad bit strange.
I think this is just another illustration of how humans are self-absorbed creatures. Names are such a central part of our identity that it can be hard to go beyond that and realize that other people share it as well—whether it be our own name or that of our toddler.
Instead, we need to frame shared names as a special connection with the person or people who also have it bestowed on them. We need to celebrate the other person for also having good taste, right? I think for the most part we embrace this but sometimes it is harder to grasp for ornery little boys and parents (like Sid and I) who hold their children as the center of their world. Don’t Blink.