Upon our birth, we are given a legal name. Perhaps it is a family name or a biblical name. Maybe it is just a name that your parents liked or has a special meaning. Regardless of the reason, that is your name going forward. But we know that as life goes on, people will call you by many different names.
Nicknames are the most common names others will call you. I had many growing up – uteaseme, youreasy, UTZ, and yourcheesy, which turned into my grade school nickname of cheeseball. I still remember my basketball coach saying, “Get the ball to cheeseball in the corner for the shot.” Today, the two nicknames I go by are Jimson (long story) and Uttee (another good story). I have nicknames for my kids, too, as I’m sure many of you do as well.
But my favorite name that people ended up calling me didn’t come until later in life. It wasn’t a new nickname and not many people call me this name. In fact, in the beginning, I was almost begging this person to call me this name I acquired. I became a dad for the first time on October 14, 1993. I was a dad, but it took many months before Danny called me dad for the first time. That three-letter word became the most beautiful word in my life. I became lucky enough to have that miracle happen three more times and now I have four kids who call me by my favorite name of dad. Being a parent or, in my case, a dad is the most difficult and rewarding job I could ever have. Being a parent first and a friend second is not that easy all of the time. And after having three boys, I am guilty when I say it is hardest with my daughter. Katy really knows how to work her dad over.
If you haven’t had a child yet, I’m not sure you fully understand the term of unconditional love. That is why dad is my favorite name to be called. God provided me four miracles to be a dad to and it is my job to do the best I can while I am here on earth. It is a title and a name that I don’t take lightly even though I have failed as a parent many times over the years while trying to do my best.
So, what’s in a name? I would say a lot. Growing up I never wanted to do anything to embarrass or discredit my last name because in doing so I would be embarrassing my parents, grandparents, and generations before them. My given name and fun nicknames all have a purpose but nothing will ever make me more proud than being called dad by my four children.