The Gay Uncle now finds himself in Key West, Florida, where his mother, nieces, common-law brother-in-law, and once-again hugely pregnant sister live. The rest of his family was headed down for the weekend. Having arranged their visits for a week or so after the due date, the idea was for Roxy to have already given birth, and for the brood—as laid out in the book (Chapter 10 Put Turkey Baby Back: New Siblings)—to celebrate the joyous event with niece Amber, and common-law nieces Faye, and Lucia (none of whom were 100% thrilled at having to further share their parents with yet another girl) by holding a “Big Sister” party. As of this writing, the baby remains firmly on the inside, which puts G.U. at risk of having to witness a birth—something he saw once in Amber’s birth video, and which, frankly, he hopes to NEVER have to see again. But it also provides him with more quality and undistracted time with sister Roxy, who he adores.
Roxy manages a restaurant in K.W., a wonderful place that’s also the epicenter of her social circle, and in his bi-annual visits over the past dozen years, Gunc has gotten to know her friends quite well. One of his favorites is her friend Anne-Marie, a tough-talking, disheveled, hippie chick from South Boston. A-M, as everyone calls her, and Roxy had their first kids four months apart, and since A-M had had her second child four months ago, they were excited to replicate this experience again. Roxy’s out on maternity leave, but still goes by the restaurant nearly every day, so she “dragged” the Gay Uncle there today for a mid-afternoon snack—Bloody Mary and salad for him; anemia-reducing burger for sis. A-M was working the host desk with her infant son, and G.U. went over to kiss her hello and meet the baby. After the usual coos and questions about the birth-weight and all that crap, he finally got around to asking the little tot’s name.
A-M shrugged. “I call him a lot of things.”
G.U. looked at her quizzically, and just nodded, a practice that speaking to A-M often required.
“Depends. I call him Honey-Pie, Sweety-Pie, Sugar-Pie, Baby-kins, Cutie, Wiggly, Goober, Grumpy, Sleepy, Mister Man…”
“Uh-huh,” the uncle said. “But what’s his name?”
A-M smiled. “We haven’t quite gotten there yet.”
“In Florida,” Roxy said. “you can write it in on the birth certificate for up to a year.”
Now, the Gay Uncle is hardly a hard-liner about most things, with pretty loose rules about the ages and stages at which kids and parents should hit certain milestones. But a name? Kids have enough trouble trying to assimilate all the new information out there in the world—and it’s all new to them; they were just born—without adding to the trouble by denying them the all-important grounding in their own developing sense of who they are as a discrete individual. A name, a consistent real name, is an important part of this identity. But the Gay Uncle knew from experience that he couldn’t tell A-M anything. No one could. So he just smiled.
“How about Brett?” he suggested.