On the twentieth of March, at 9.14 in the morning, we welcomed Winter Johann into our arms and into the world. Twelve days past his due date, he arrived with force and intensity like a winter storm. Since then, he has been the most mellow, quiet little fellow and he makes it seem like he has always been here.
A lot of people have asked me how we chose his name, Winter. For the longest time we were actually set on a different name. However, for some reason I had a hard time addressing my unborn baby with its name. The connection wasn't quite there. Finally, I opened up to my husband and told him that the name we had picked doesn't seem quite right with my heart. So with only a few weeks left in my pregnancy we had yet to find the perfect name for our son.
It was then when it snowed again outside and the days were cold and spent comfortably inside. I looked outside my window and thought to myself "I really like Winter" (the season). Then I realized, I really like "Winter" (the sound of the word).
I started calling him Winter, but kept it a secret for a few days to make sure, that I was really certain about it. Then, I told my husband. At first he was hesitant, although not dismissive about it. He said he needed a few days to consider it. I think he was trying to figure out, wether its to unusual, too bold of a choice.
Seasonal names are common in the United States, with Winter being the least common. Also, although officially a unisex name, it seemed like it was more commonly used for girls. For a moment we were wondering how our family (on both sides of the Atlantic) would perceive the name, but then we realized, that in the end of the day only our own little family matters in this choice. In Germany, it is actually against the law to pick a name, that is not a "name" in origin, but describes something else. However, times are changing and with us being a multicultural couple no one even as much as blinked when we registered him at the German City Hall, a few days after our home birth. I will say, I was a bit nervous though.
So here is why I love the name Winter. It is simple. It is pure. It reminds me of snow, the cold, the northern hemisphere. It is strong. But it has a sweet softness to it, as well.
It goes perfectly with Smilla. After all, she was named after the book "Smilla's sense of snow".
It is unique, but it is not entirely wild.
When I look at my son, with his blond hair and his icy blue eyes, his earnest and wise look, I know in my heart - it is the perfect name for him. He will carry it well.
We chose my daughters middle name Margarete after my grandmother, so it was only fitting to choose the middle name Johann after my grandfather. Also, my father, who passed last year, was named Hans and we thought it would be a good way to remember him, without being too painfully reminded of our loss every time.
The teutonic meaning of the name Winter is actually "bringing of renewal/rebirth". A powerful meaning (particularly to me), considering we conceived him rather miraculously and shortly after my father had died last spring.
In the pagan religions of past days the word "winter" referred to the "rebirth of spring". Leave it to our son, to wait for twelve days past his due date and to meet us on the first day of spring.