His name was determined long before he was even conceived. “Hooper” is a family name, my maiden name, and with my sister and I and our two female cousins, the line stops. My dad, who was a minor league baseball player, was always called “Hooper” or “Hoops”. Many of his friends still refer to him by these nicknames today. In high school, none of my close friends called me Ashley; I was “Hoops” or “Hoopdogg”, always. When my husband and I started talking about marriage, we also talked about kids. I let him know, even before we walked down the aisle, that I wanted our firstborn – boy or girl – to be named Hooper. Fortunately, he agreed. So as soon as we found out we were pregnant, he was Hooper. And it never wavered. It’s the perfect fit for him, really. It’s just too bad that it coincided with the rise of the name “Cooper”, because more times than not we have to introduce him as “Hooper,with an H”.
When we found out we were pregnant with another boy, we fretted over what we would name him. We had girl names ready to go, but found ourselves tapped out in the boy naming department. Hooper’s name came so effortlessly, without thought or question. We’d throw out names here and there and even when we would agree on one, we’d look at each other 5 seconds later and shake our heads. Then one night, about a month before I was due, we were sitting in Hooper’s room before bed listening to music. “Warm Love” by Van Morrison came on. I looked at my husband and said, “What about Van?”. And just like that, we had our name. Neither of our boys have middle names. We decided it will be something they can chose when they’re a little bit older. I’m hoping one of them chooses “Radical”, but I’m not holding my breath.