Surprised, Harold just stared at his wife.
As the mother cuddled her newborn, her heart swelled with love for this precious new life. She breathed in his sweet baby scent and held him closer. “Little Billy,” she cooed. The name just did not sit well with the new mom. “You just do not look like a Billy.” As she held the baby close, her husband walked into her hospital room.
“Let me see my boy,” the father beamed as he scooped up his newest addition. “Good morning, little Billy.”
For two days, the parents had called this child, Billy, and for two days, the mother tried to think of a way to broach the subject of this name. “It’s now or never,” Dotty thought. “Honey, I have been meaning to…” She was unable to finish her sentence as a nurse waltzed into the room.
“Time to take Little Billy for his check-up. It will give you two some time together,” she commented before taking the infant from his father.
“Was there something you wanted to tell me?” Harold looked at his wife and smiled.
“No, not really. Just wanted to know how the kids are doing?” She quickly changed the subject.
“Oh, they are fine. Everyone is excited to have you home, so they can meet Little Billy. It will be good to have everyone home tomorrow,” the excited father announced.
Since the nurses took their little guy, the couple visited until Dotty began to yawn. “Take a nap while you can,” Harold told his wife before he kissed on the forehead and strolled out of her room.
Before she napped, she tried to think of a gentle plan to tell her husband that she wanted to give their new baby a different name. He had picked the names of the other children; it was time for her to choose a name. She started softly reciting names until she fell asleep.
The next morning, a favorite nurse waltzed into Dotty’s room with paperwork for her to sign. “Time to make it official, “the nurse told her. “We need you to finish the forms for the birth certificate, and then you can be discharged.”
The kind nurse moved the hospital table closer for her patient to fill out the necessary paperwork and then left the room as Dotty began filling out the form. Dotty glanced at the name section, and before she lost her nerve, she wrote, Daniel Harold. “Maybe I will not get into so much hot water if Danny’s middle name is Harold,” she whispered to herself.
When her nurse returned to pick up the information sheet, her eyes grew large when she looked at the name on the form. “Hasn’t your husband called the little one, Billy?” she probed.
Before Dotty could answer, Harold walked into the room. The nurse nervously laughed, grabbed the paperwork and hurried from the room.
“Well, are you ready to head home? He asked his wife.
She nodded her reply while grateful that he hadn’t arrived just a few minutes earlier. Her nurse returned with Danny, and an orderly followed her with a wheelchair for her patient. The nurse could not stop smiling. As the couple left the hospital room, the nurse said her goodbyes, wished the mom good luck, and began to laugh once again.
“I wonder what is so funny?” her husband asked.
Dotty just shrugged her shoulders.
Once settled in the car, they left the hospital parking lot. Harold started towards home. Feeling anxious about her decision, the woman could feel butterflies in her stomach. What had she done? Looking out the window, she tried to focus on the many Victorian homes that dotted the island to keep her mind off her dilemma. She had to tell him soon. They couldn’t call the baby Billy forever, and she had to break the news soon.
“I can’t wait for the kids to meet Billy,” the proud father stated. “They are pretty excited too.”
Dotty just glanced at her husband and smiled.
“You are sure quiet. Are you tired?” he asked.
Feeling guilty, Dotty almost spilled the beans, but her husband started talking about little Billy once again. She wondered what to do next. She decided to remain quiet until she could think about her situation. They were almost home anyway and would not have time to have this conversation.
Within minutes, he turned their car into the driveway. Their older children charged down the stairs to the family car, ready to see their mom, and meet their little brother.
Talking at once, the kids rushed to the car. Their father reminded his children they needed to be quiet. With the passenger door now open, the mother pulled back the blanket, so her children could meet their little brother for the first time. Peeking inside the car, the children smiled as they watched the sleeping baby.
Once inside, the mother and her baby settled on the couch. Snuggling close to his mama, four-year-old David whispered, “Can I hold little Billy?”
The next day over the phone, while the older children were at school, and the younger ones napped, Dotty confessed to her mother about the naming incident.
“You did what?” Her mother asked. “And they have been calling him Billy all this time?” Her mother could not contain her laughter. “So how will you get yourself out of this pickle?”
The frazzled mother had been wondering the same thing for four straight days.
“Well, you have to tell him sometime.”
After she hung up the phone, she decided that she would share the news with her husband after dinner, and together they could explain the name change to their children. For the rest of the day, the woman stayed busy and did not have time to dwell on that unnerving conversation.
After the dinner dishes were washed, Dotty knew it was time to speak to her husband. He had just pulled one of the boys from the tub and told the next in line to grab a towel.
“What’s up?” Harold asked his wife.
Grabbing her husband’s hand, she pulled him into their daughter’s bedroom that was just off the kitchen and closed the door. She sat on the twin bed and took a deep breath before she quickly stated, “Well, I need to tell you something.” Before she lost her nerve, she quickly blurted, “Billy’s name isn’t Billy. When the nurse came in with the paperwork, I wrote down Daniel. Daniel Harold.”
Surprised, Harold just stared at his wife.
Nervously, she continued, “He just didn’t look like a Billy to me. And you named the others, and I wanted his name to be Danny, and his middle name is Harold.”
Stunned, Harold glanced at his wife. His wife held her breathe, waiting for an explosion. Instead, the father started laughing. “Danny. You named him Danny?”
She just nodded her head in reply.
Shaking his head in disbelief, the man continued, “And we have been calling him little Billy all this time.”
“Please do not be mad,” his wife quietly whispered.
Their conversation was interrupted when Ann came into the kitchen looking for her parents.
“Mom, Mom!” The girl called.
Her mother opened the bedroom door and stepped into the kitchen
“The baby is crying. I think his diaper’s wet.”
“He’s probably hungry too. I’ll warm his bottle.” Harold told his wife.
After the baby was changed, the mother sat on the couch. Her husband handed her the bottle and nestled next to his wife, and the rest of the family circled around to watch their mom feed the newest member.
“Mom, after you feed little Billy, can I hold him?” Her daughter asked.
At the mention of his name, the mother blushed and began to stammer, and their father laughed. “We need to talk,” he told his children.
The couple began to tell their children the story for the very first time about how Danny finally received his name. This tale became quite famous within the Reeder Clan. When the parents and grandparents gathered, and family stories were shared, this tale became a story that was often repeated, especially as Danny became older. The little one would only have to ask, “Tell me when,” and someone would share his story as everyone huddled together to hear about how Danny came to be.
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