(more) Children of My Youth

“…your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord!”

Tuesday morning, ETMC Henderson

“Is it a baby cow?” asked my two-year-old son Liam in a curious and fearful whisper, as we stood in the darkened office of the ultrasound technician, gazing up at the large monitor screen showing the shadowy silver and black undulating glimpses of the burgeoning life within my beloved’s womb.

The technician laughed politely, then showed us a rather obvious indication that our next child would be a son.

A son…  another son. To “quote” Eleanor of Acquitaine, I have too many sons. In the same way that I have too many gold bars lying around, or too much oceanfront property in Northern California.

In other words, can one have too many sons? I am wealthy in sons, a blessed man indeed to have been entrusted with such treasure.

Lord willing, my wife and I will welcome Roland Cecil Alexander into the world sometime in the late Winter. We shall call him “Xander” for short but his full name is a tribute to family and friends of ours that’ve passed on, as well a subtle tribute to one of my favorite poems.

“…there they stood, ranged along the hillsides, met to view the last of me, a living frame for one more picture. In a sheet of flame I saw them and I knew them all. And yet dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set, and blew: ‘Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came!'”

Roland is of Germanic origin and means “of great renown.” I hope Xander will come to appreciate the Name of far greater renown than his own. Furthermore, I have long loved the name of Roland and I harbor a secret hope that Xander will too, and eventually prefer to be called Roland when he grows into manhood.

Cecil is a family name from the maternal line, and is also the proper first name of his grandfather: Cecil Samuel Daniels. Cecil (pronounced SESS-ul) is an Anglicized version of a popular Roman name: Sextus, meaning “the sixth.” Though the fifth living child of my house, Xander is actually the sixth child my wife and I conceived together.

Alexander is, of course, derived from the Ancient Greek name “Alexandros” that has been made wildly popular by Alexander of Macedon, styled “the Great.” But the man I honor with this name was my friend Bruce Alexander Gillespie, Jr. who died only recently. Indeed, if my son measures up to a portion of his stature then I will have been blessed mightily.

With a name such as this, I hope to have communicated something of the hopes I have for this child…  that he shall grow in strength and renown, humility and grace.

Time will tell.

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