About two years ago, when I was twenty-six years old, I received in the mail an undistinguished white envelope clearly from my father, his chicken-scratch handwriting unmistakable. Inside was a newspaper clipping of an article with a chicken-scratched Post-It note clipped to the corner, “I knew I always liked that name.”
The article was from the New York Times, a regular Sunday Styles column, Modern Love. This particular column was written by a man about to become a father to his second daughter (I am my father’s second daughter).
The article told the man’s story of choosing his daughter’s name. He goes through several options in the 1,200-word piece, but in the end, he and his wife name their daughter Charlotte—they would call her Cha Cha.
The next time I saw my dad, he said, “Hey, Cha Cha!”
By the time I was 27, I was reborn and Cha Cha was full of possibilities.