01 July 2007

Ariksander Robert James Carl Stuckwisch

It's been a very full and kind-of-crazy day, but it's long from over yet. Divine Service and Bible Class this morning, of course, and a lovely "open yard" party at the Grobien's this afternoon and early evening. There's many more things to be done this evening, too, but never mind that now. Today also happens to be my Ariksander's ninth birthday. Poor boy, he didn't even get a proper birthday card from his parents, and he hasn't gotten a proper birthday present, yet. We have been celebrating his birthday, in various ways, already for the last few days now, and there will also be a shopping trip at some point in the near future. Ariksander did have the great pleasure of two phone calls today, from both his big brother and his big sister, Zachary and DoRena.

I vividly remember when Ariksander was born. I was working at church when I got a phone call from LaRena that she was going into labor. She had felt it coming on, somewhat slowly, and had gone for a walk to the library (with DoRena, Zachary, Nicholai and Monica in tow), in order to speed up the process. That worked. She called to say that, if she kept on walking, she was going to have the baby on the sidewalk. We quickly opted to avoid that option, and I jumped in the vehicle to pick my family up and set "the plan" into motion. Dropped the children off at the Rhein's, and made great haste to the hospital. No sweat. We were in the doors of St. Jo Med Center all of nine minutes before Ariksander was delivered. We even made it into the delivery room on the maternity floor, and there was an intern on hand to catch the boy as he was born. What more do you want? (Honestly, we have tried to avoid such excitement in the delivery of our children.)

Ariksander Robert is named in part for his godparents, Robert and Sandra Rhein. His first name is also for me (Arik is one of the many forms of Richard that I happened across), and for his Uncle Paul (my younger brother). Paul's middle name is Alexander, which I always loved and was a bit envious of in our youth. We have generally not used our sibling's names for our own children (with some exceptions), but I was pleased to hit upon a creative modification of this great name for my son. Interestingly, when I've been to Novosibirsk, I've often had to roll the first "r" in saying "Ariksander," because the Russians tend to hear it as "Alexander" otherwise. To say his name properly, you have to articulate it with a guttural Teutonic growl, but I don't know how to reproduce that on a blog post, so readers will just have to imagine it.

Ariksander is also named for the holy Apostle, St. Jame the Elder, who is commemorated later this month (the 25th of July), and for his great-grandpa, Carl Stuckwisch, who died on the 4th of July, 1996. His official "due date" was the 4th, and I told Grandma that, if we had a son, we'd name him after Grandpa. That became the first time that I gave one of my children a third middle name, a practice I have since continued. I'm sorry that Ariksander never got to know his Great-Grandpa Stuckwisch, who was a good man, one of my favorite people in the world. I think of him especially at this time of year, both because of his death on the 4th, and because of his namesake, Ariksander Robert James Carl.

LaRena and I have often observed that our children seem to emulate the traits of their godfamilies. In no case has that been more pronounced and obvious than it is with Ariksander. Not that all of the Rhein's have the same personality (there is some striking variety there), but Ariksander takes after many of them. He's quieter and more reflective than any of our other children, and he tends to be more curious and inquisitive about things in a thoughtful sort of way. He does not often have a lot to say, but I know there is a lot going on inside his head, and when he does open his mouth to speak, he always delights me with his comments. I've heard some of the most profound things from that young man of mine, as well as some of the funniest remarks. Ariksander has a wonderful sense of humor, and he gets such a twinkle in his eye, and such a cute little grin on his face, when he tells a joke or makes a humorous observation about something or other. I can't help but marvel at him, and revel at the joy of having such a son.

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