Sunday, July 25, 2010

Just James

Our second son was Just James.

The story of how he became "Just James" begins prior to his birth. Joyce and her sister were pregnant at the same time, and of course, during one of their visits, the topic of baby names came up. Joyce informed her sister that if we had another boy we'd use the maiden names of the two grandmothers and dub him "James Martin". Joyce's sister immediately protested, "You can't use 'James', I already spoke to Grandpa James and got permission to name my son James."

Well, needless to say (since our James was due in August and hers in November) Joyce failed to see the compelling force of this argument. And as luck would have it, both children were boys -- our son James Martin and his cousin James Gerald. (And oddly enough, Grandpa James never did get around to calling and chewing us out for stealing the name he'd deeded to Joyce's sister.)

Thereafter, whenever we'd gather with Joyce's side of the family, to avoid confusion, we'd add the middle name in referring to our respective Jameses. But in a few years we learned that this compromise wasn't acceptable to all the parties involved. Our three-year-old James protested vehemently: "I'm not James Martin. I'm just 'James'!" Being the insensitive lout I am (though, to quote John Cleese, "I got bettah"), I replied to the most tender-hearted of my boys: "Ohhh! Well, I'm so glad to meet you, Just James. Does anyone call you 'James the Just'?"

The poor child was incensed that his own father would mock him, but being just three, he could only counter with: "Nooooo! Not 'Just James' -- just 'James'!" I'm now ashamed to admit, I found his response hilarious ... until I noticed tears of frustration trickling down his red cheeks. Fortunately, James has long-since forgiven my parenting and nowadays even finds the "Just James" story funny.

How time flies. That little boy I taunted is now married. I'd always told James that the Lord was preparing a good wife for him and that she was worth waiting for. God was under no obligation to keep my promise, but He really outdid Himself in creating James's charming bride Amber. Today James and Amber celebrate their first wedding anniversary.

But sadly they won't be having an evening out to celebrate this joyous event, since today also marks the twenty-second day since James deployed to Afghanistan. So to James and Amber (as you both read this from a half a world apart) I offer one word of encouragement: "The same all-wise loving God who united you, will bring you back together. Never again will you be just James or just Amber."


Andy said...

That was beautiful, Bob. Time does fly. It's just impossible to me that my oldest son will be 30 in a few months. 30???


Thanks for the story.

Bob said...

Our oldest son (coincidentally also named Andy) is just a year younger than yours. After that threshold is passed I think I can handle turning 60 myself.

Andy said...

Bob, this is not gonna work! Your son can no longer be "Andy." You'll have to call him "Just Andy."

Time do fly, my brother!

Mrs. JP said...

Wow, time does do by quickly. Is this the son you did the cross-country to Alaska trek with? That was just yesterday!

joyce said...

Poor James fought it---but gave up, and lets us tell the cute James stories. Soon he will have a little munchin of his own.