swedish sweaters

Ivar is named after his great grandpa. Grandpa Ivar, who we called Papa, could most often be seen wearing his Swedish sweaters. Even to a Pirate Birthday party as seen below:

I asked Rory's mom if she had anything special for little Ivar to wear for his Dedication, and the next morning she showed up with a Swedish sweater outfit from Hannah Anderson. This was the perfect outfit. It makes me sad that we'll never get a picture of the two Ivar's in their sweaters together. They would have liked each other so much.

When Ivar was still in my belly, I wrote our baby-to-be a long letter explaining the two names we had chosen and why we had chosen them. Here is part of that letter that explains why we chose our name for a baby boy:

Little baby,
It is early in the morning before the sun has come up, and I am wide awake wondering who you will be. We have two names picked out for you, and I’d be very surprised if we changed our minds. We have a strong girls name and a strong boys name and each one holds a lot of meaning for us. I want to tell you why.


If you are a boy, your name will be Ivar. This name is the name of your great grandpa on your dad’s side. Your great grandpa Ivar was a fantastic man of character, born to be a preacher. His speech had a particular cadence with his words chosen thoughtfully. He was a character in every imaginable way. His life stories seem epic now, hopping trains to get back and forth from Bible school, taking a ship over with his parents from Sweden as a boy, building churches in Ohio and Michigan.

We all called him Papa, and I have to tell you he welcomed me into the Groves family with arms wide open. That always meant so much to me. I knew he liked me from the start and I liked him right back. When your dad and I were first dating he was living in a senior home with a lot of Lutherans and Lutheran pastors. He paraded your dad around the dining hall table by table, introducing him and saying, “This is my grandson Rory. He is dating a Lutheran!” And he said it with enthusiasm, building a bridge to his friends at his home.

Little baby, your tiny little feet have some enormous footsteps to follow. The truth is, you could have been named after any of your great grandfathers or grandpas. You come from the strongest of men, filled with integrity and character. Each one has a life story that is filled with caring for others, determination, hard work and a belief in God that is so strong that it influences every single part of their daily life.

Your great grandpa Phil (grandma Margaret’s dad) was the hardest working man I have ever met. I remember being at his farm and getting so excited for Wheel of Fortune, because it was the only time the man sat still, so then the rest of us could rest, too. Great grandpa Phil could work nonstop doing physical things all day long. He was a successful farmer, raised seven kids and was active at his church his whole life.

Your great grandpa John (grandpa Paul’s dad) was a loyal worker to his company. He worked for the Burroughs Corporation, and I think that company had him move over a dozen times. He taught Sunday school most places where they moved and when he retired he kept using his skills and gifts to help raise money for the Lutheran Bible Institute.

Your great grandpa Madison (grandpa Madison’s dad) was an entrepreneur and a builder and he used his gifts to construct a home for orphaned children in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Your dad wishes so badly he could have known him more (he died when your dad was still very young) because it seems that your dad was given the same independence and self-confidence that his grandpa Madison had, born to create his own ventures.

And you, baby-to-be, could not be any more blessed than you are with your two Grandpa’s. Grandpa Paul and Grandpa Madison are both salt of the earth, and their deepest care is for other people. The church is the cornerstone of their lives, faithfully living out Jesus’ call to love one another and to share the good news. They love their families more than anything and are so excited for your arrival. In fact, your Grandpa Paul has already purchased his Grandparent’s Pass to the zoo, and you still have eight more weeks before you are due to arrive!

In all of your great grandfathers and grandpas there is a great sense of purpose for what they do and did with their time. What they believed in was the driving force behind their actions and ambitions.

Hear me on this. Whether you are born a girl or a boy, you will be given a family name, because we come from two families that have been blessed beyond measure. Your dad and I do not care what profession you choose. You could be a storyteller, a farmer, a preacher, a salesman, a fundraiser, an entrepreneur, an author, a contractor, or any other profession that fits your gifts. But we do care that you know your Maker. And whatever you do with your life, you live your life with as much passion and conviction and belief as the heritage of men and women who have gone before you. We care that you live your life boldly, make mistakes and move on, and that you are not afraid to live out the role God has custom created for you.

We love you more than I could have ever imagined love. Your dad talks to you every day and we are filled with wonder and awe thinking of how fearfully and wonderfully you are made.

We are so excited to be your mom and dad.

5 comments:

Jamie Willow said...

what a darling darling sweater (I love all things hannah anderson)!

and what an amazing heritage you wrote out for him.

wonderful!

sarah in the woods said...

Precious. Just precious.

annika said...

Oh, Becca. What a beautiful letter you wrote before Ivar even entered the world. That is such a gift to him! Little Ivar is surrounded by strong families of faith.
Oh, and I loved that Papa wore his Swedish sweater to the pirate party. Laughed out loud!

margaret harrington said...

Beautifully written Becca!

val said...

Our oldest son is named John Kenneth after his dad's grandpa and my own.

These are two men who never knew each other, but could have been brothers they were so much alike, Scandinavian farmers, reliable and decent in every way, old protestants.

So much of our heritage has been lost--for sure the language has been, any connection to places in Sweden and Norway.

But the love? That just keeps flowing--upholding us before we're born continuing after we're gone.

love, Val