When we went on our pre-Cana retreat, I tweeted something to effect "Tom says this isn't a contest for the most Catholic couple, but I'm not fooled. We're here to WIN." Every time the couples leading the retreat asked questions, I had my hand raised. Hermione Granger in her first year at Hogwarts? Absolutely.
I am an insufferable know-it-all in any formal situation where certificates are awarded. And as it turns out, even when there aren't any certificates at all...even when no one else is paying attention...even when the competition is just in my twisted little mind...
I told Mr. O that I wanted our children's names to be definitively Catholic. No wishy-washy Catholic-code names here! We're going to prove just how Catholic we are by naming our children things that say "look, we are rosary-praying, daily-Mass-going, Pope-loving CATHOLICS." I really wasn't that worried; afterall, we don't have stiff competition, since most of our friends just give their children names that are meaningful to them and usually a Catholic middle name (now that I write that it out, it sounds so normal and appealing...). But then Mr. O sent me an article about an acquaintance's professional success; at the end of the article, it gave a short bio and listed the names of his six children:
Benedict. Sebastian. Scholastica. Athanasius. Magnus. Gemma.
Say WHAT? Not only does this person have the jump on us in fertility, which is obviously the easiest way to prove how holy you are, but they pulled out the BIG guns on names - Scholastica? Athanasius?? How am I supposed to compete with that!!? (by the way, I would like to note that I was lobbying for Athanasius because we knew Baby O was/is a Baby O'Girl and Scholastica has long been a cherished favorite, completely squashed by my obviously-not-as-Catholic-as-I-am husband)
Mr. Oram quickly realized his mistake as I repeated each of the names with huge saucer like eyes. He knows the maniacal, will-win-at-any-cost look I get, and quickly acted to head me off at the pass. "Look, we're not going to beat them at this point. The best we can do is tie, okay? Lets just shoot for a tie." Unfortunately, this is a very poor strategy to take with crazies like me...tying is not a viable option. I will either be beaten to a bloody pulp, unable to stand, or I will triumph over your twitching corpse. (ok maybe that analogy was excessive...I am in no way threatening this person's children... unfortunately, I mostly view competition in terms of physical combat)
Physical combat like this, from the movie 300, one of my favs. I know, I fail at genteel Catholic womanhood.
So although we had a couple of perfectly acceptable names that combined our Catholicism, respect for family tradition, and love for Roman history, now I feel I am back to square one. I have to find names that project an image: we are a family that is more Catholic than you are. We are the MOST Catholic family, ever. That way, when we run into this acquaintance, he will understand that although we have just one child so far, we are playing in his league and we are here to WIN. So while his wonderfully named children go off and join the Jesuits or non-habited nuns, OURS are going to be Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and Nashville Dominicans!
(Note: This is probably the reason that my husband wisely doesn't want out NFP-related decisions left up to me; having children to win a competition is, I am sure, one of the fastest ways to ruin a marriage and any hope of getting to Heaven)
You experienced moms out there are probably laughing at me, shaking your heads - maybe you want to tell me, "by the time you have six kids, you'll be lucky if you remember ANY of their names - Catholic or not - and you'll mostly be happy if they'd all just be quiet at the same time." But I know different. I am young and inexperienced and overly-optimistic, and I just know that my six overtly-Catholicly named children will be shining examples of manners, academic prowess, rugby agility, and faith. Right!?!
***Please if anyone takes this post totally seriously, do not comment - just content yourself with thinking bad things about me for the rest of your natural life. You could even pray for me. I am obviously a horrible person.