My son is named Ethan Stanford Dunham. My father was Stanford Arlen Dunham, and Ethan's middle name is a tribute to my dad who died in 1993. For me, my dad was almost more of a buddy because my mom married my beloved step-father, Karl Brown, when I was 8 years old. Karl was my day-to-day father.
Nevertheless, as I grew up, I spent a lot of time with my dad who we often called "Stan the Man." He was a great guy, a character whose irreverance and wit endeared him to many. I still think about him everyday and wonder what he would be doing had he not been taken from us when he was only 63.
It is inevitable I suppose that families on both sides of a child's parentage look at a kid and claim dominance in terms of genes. Ethan does look a lot like my wife Heather though I claim his eyebrows! I appreciate that many on Heather's side suggest he "looks just like David, or just like...." Alternatively, I have friends who say he looks just like my brother Steve. I also see my mother's face sometimes, and I see my brother Dirk at times. At different times, he looks like many people on "my side."
But in the sunlight, when a sun ray hits his hair, I think of my dad Stan the Man. Ethan's hair has a subtle reddish tint that my dad's hair had. In addition, as Ethan matures -- racing toward the ripe old age of 5 in a couple of months -- he is developing an enviable wit with an almost evil chuckle that is simply my dad, Stan.
As Ethan and I wandered through a Halloween store a while back, I noticed a mask that seemed appropriate...a merging of Ethan Stanford Dunham with his grandpa Stan the Man Dunham.
Makes me miss Dad even more. He would have adored his name sake.