Yo, Squish. There’s something we have to tell you. It’s kind of a big deal. Your mom and I have been seriously talking about it for the past six months, but we’ve also been kind of talking about it for the past, what is it, four years? Yeah. Four years. In fact, your Lola has also been involved in our discussion. That’s how important it is.
You ready? Okay. Here:
We don’t know what it’s short for yet. It most likely will be short for Maximus. But it also could be short for Maximilian.
(Yes, yes, Maximilian is harder to spell1. I’ve been telling your momma that. And yes, I agree, Maximus sounds pretty darned cool, especially since you will have the same name as the General of the Felix Legions, Commander of the Armies of the North, Loyal Servant to the True Emperor Marcus Aurelius, father to a murdered son, husband to murdered wife, and he will have his vengeance, in this life or the next2.)
Both Maximus and Maximilian mean (or are derived from a word which means) the same thing: Greatest. It’s the name whose truth makes the most sense to us, because you are the greatest thing to ever happen in our lives (well, besides our marriage). Max(imus). The Greatest.
But I have to make something very clear to you, buddy. In our hearts, you, Max, are the greatest. However, it is very important that you understand what greatness truly means. It does not mean that you are the more important than other humans3. It does not mean applause, or popularity, or wealth, or power4. It does not mean that you are entitled to anything.
True greatness means love. It means kindness. It means carrying yourself in a humble yet authentic manner. It means respecting others—others, meaning, not only those who are not you, but those who are not like you. It means using your voice, your talent, your abilities, at the right time, for the right things, for more than just yourself. It means loyalty and integrity and wisdom and courage—no matter who’s looking. It means checking your privilege—All. The. Time.
It means so much. Sometimes you will have no idea what it means. That’s okay. Greatness also means you can admit that. Sometimes that’s the only thing it can mean.
Greatness. Max(imus), son of Mikey, son of Char. The Greatest.
This is your name, Squishy. But you must know that greatness—your greatness—is really all up to you. Don’t worry, we’ll be here for as long as we can. And you have so, so much going for you.
- Also, Lola thinks it sounds too fancy. Pretentiously so. ↩︎
- You are not named after him, though—your momma has made me promise. Repeatedly. Especially after I recite that speech, word for word, every time I say your name. ↩︎
- Even if you are super duper incredibly important to us! ↩︎
- Even if we will try our best to give this to you many times! ↩︎
- We’re also considering Elephant. As in, Maximus Elephant Llorin. ↩︎