This is a tough post to write. We love our sweet little guy’s name and where it came from holds such a special place in our hearts.
On January 25th at 10 AM, we had our anatomy scan – the 20 week ultrasound. We were SO excited to see our little babe. We knew already that we weren’t going to find out the gender, so we both avoided looking at the screen during that part, but loved every second of seeing our little one! The ultrasound technician was so great and talked us through the entire thing. It was so intriguing and it was so crazy how advanced ultrasounds are these days. The sweet lady printed our photos for us, we snapped a few photos of them on our phones so we could send them to friends and family, James went back to work and I headed to Target. Because what makes such a happy day even happier than a trip to Target? Before I went in, I texted my oh-so-modern grandma a profile shot of the baby. She immediately called me and she and my grandpa were on speaker phone. You could tell how excited they were from the sound of their voices. She mentioned how wild it was that they can see so much and get such great images via an ultrasound. We talked about wondering if this baby was a boy or girl and how we were all looking forward to what was to come. We talked for a few more minutes and said goodbye as I walked up to Target. Our phone calls always ended in “Love you!” so naturally that was the last thing we all said to each other.
Nobody could have anticipated how drastically our lives would change the very next day. I drove down to Nashville to photograph an engagement session. We were shooting in Downtown Franklin and for some reason, so many little shops and restaurants reminded me of my grandparents. We walked passed a Chicos and I shared how that was my grandma’s favorite store and we always shopped for her there. We passed a cute little boutique with paper birds as a part of the window display. I thought of how much they love birds (they religiously took care of the birds in their neighborhood). I don’t know what it was, but they were on my mind during that entire session.
Later that evening, while making dinner plans with our dearest friends in Nashville, I learned that while I was shooting that engagement session, my grandparents were in a terrible car accident and both passed away. The grandparents who we were insanely close to and who were always such a huge, huge part of our lives. My grandparents were vibrant, happy, and incredibly healthy. They loved their family so very much and were so kind to everyone they met. They had so much life left to live and a tragic accident took them way too early.
Thank goodness for the most loving and supportive friends who drove me home that night. On the drive home, I knew. I texted James and we had a girl name and boy name decided on right then and there. This baby HAD to be named after them, there was no other way. Graham was my grandma’s maiden name, which she later made her middle name. Virginia Graham Hurley was her name and goodness how special this name is. A name can hold so much and for that, we’re forever grateful.
I remember in the days following the accident crying with my mom just repeating “I didn’t want to become a mom without them.” I wanted them at the hospital to meet the baby right away. I wanted them to be a big part of this baby’s life, just as they were a big part of mine. I was so excited to know that I was pregnant and they were both here to celebrate with us. I never would have imagined that they wouldn’t be here when he was born.
We wanted bits and pieces of his nursery to reflect them as well. From the little rocking bird on the side table reflecting their love of birds, to the xoxo swaddle because she always signed cards with xoxox in the bottom right corner, to the custom sign above his crib (what she always said to us before we fell asleep), to the puppy stuffed animal that my grandma wanted to buy as a baby shower gift (she didn’t get the chance to buy it, so my mom did), we love that little things in his life are ways to remember them and teach Graham about who his great grandparents were. Graham will grow up hearing story after story of his great grandparents. We want him to know how very special they were to everyone in their lives. We hope he grows up knowing the great honor of being named after his great grandmother and it is our hope that he has even just one of the wonderful qualities she had.
Graham’s middle name is James’ middle name and I couldn’t love it more. I love that my baby boy has his dad’s middle name. James was named after his grandfather, whose name was Ivan, so we decided to continue passing the name down.
Having our sweet boy named after family members is so special. His name means so much to us and we can’t wait to share with him who he was named after and the stories of their lives.