Our Cassie has always been direct and to the point, not one to beat around the bush. Always spoke her mind, always did what she wanted to do, always walked to the beat of her own drummer. Raising Cassie was all about unconditionally loving and supporting her — and frequently about staying out of her way when she was on a mission to complete something.
And so it went Sunday, Sept. 26, when Cassie was wheeled into the delivery room after a half-day of contractions and, with four strong pushes, presented Grant Geldhof, front and center. Jeanne took the photos and Kurt shot video (I stayed in the waiting area) and the event was over in less than eight minutes. Ba da bing. Looking at the photos of the doctor and nurse grinning, apparently they too enjoyed the easy delivery — or the jokes Cassie was cracking between pushes.
The stats: 7 pounds, 10 ounces; 20 inches, and enough brown hair to comb. He scored a 10-out-of-10 on a post-birth assessment and, aside from a swollen face suggesting he had gone a round or two in a boxing ring, he was beautiful.
And now Jeanne and I are in awe. Both of our children — Paul, 35, who lives near us in Las Vegas, and Cassie, 30, who lives in Antwerp, Belgium — are themselves parents of beautiful babies.
In other words: it’s payback time. Heh heh heh.
Not that we’re not filled with warm joy for our children. For Paul and Sarah (right), who married January 8, 2000, their Kieran is nothing short of a miracle baby, and he glows like the angel he is. For Cassie and her Kurt, who became engaged in July 2009 while traveling with us through Europe in an RV and who are getting married Dec. 31, the baby making wasn’t nearly as challenging.
Each couple has adapted to parenting quickly, easily and with confidence. And that pleases us immensely. Our grandchildren are in the best possible hands.
But for Cassie and Kurt, dealing with the bureaucracy was a bit of another matter today. It had to do with naming the baby.
Cassie had considered naming the boy “Green,” being raised as a steward of the environment, conscious of the welfare of the planet we all share. We were fine with that, but suggested — as did others — that Green might encounter some playground teasing. So Cassie and Kurt settled on “Grant,” which means “great.” And to pay tribute to Cassie’s family name, Grant’s middle name would be Gorman.
On Thursday, Cassie and Kurt headed to the Belgian government office that deals with people data — from passports to immigration to deaths and births. And they were told in no uncertain terms that “Gorman” wasn’t permitted as part of Grant’s name. The reason: Gorman is the mother’s name, and a parent’s name can’t be contained in the child’s name.
The parents came home and we pow-wowed. We suggested she try to win the Belgian government approval to have “Green” be Grant’s middle name. That would preserve the aliteration, and Cassie’s desire that her son have a name that reflected a certain consciousness about the world.
Cassie and Kurt drove back to the government office. Yes, the woman said, “Green” was alright. So let us introduce to you Grant Green Geldhof.
But the whole episode does raise the question: Your child’s name has to be approved by the government? Indeed. And here is the back story:
In 1810 Napoleon had annexed the area that is now Holland, and a year later he decreed, among other things, that all citizens’ names be recorded. Well, not all Dutch used last names, which Napoleon demanded, so tens of thousands of them made up last names that were vulgar or funny, partly to protest the new bureaucracy.
Among the new last names: Suikerbuik (Sugar belly), Spring in ‘t Veld (Jump in the Field), Uiekruier (Onion-crier), Naaktgeboren (Born naked), Poepjes (Little sh*t), Schooier (Beggar, bum, tramp), Scheefnek (Crooked-neck), Piest ([he] urinates), Zeldenthuis (Hardly ever at home), Rotmensen (Rotten people)– and De Keizer (The Emperor) —ostensibly to mock Napoleon himself.
Today, the government wants to halt such craziness, and must sign off on names just as a Department of Motor Vehicles back in the States must approve a personalized license plate.