Do they have a name picked out? This is the number one question I’m getting these days. Of course I’m referring to my scheduled-to-arrive-in-four-weeks grandson.
Nope. Can’t tell ya. I’m sworn to secrecy. But I like it and anyways, it’s not my child to name. Thank goodness. I did that twice already, and I believe both children are named appropriately. I mean, no one rushed down to the courthouse on their 18th birthday to change the name I gave them. I’d call that success.
It got me to thinking about the whole ordeal around names. It’s a very critical responsibility. Especially because, the first thing I think when I hear a whacked-out name is, “What the @$&? was his/her mother thinking?” Mothers get blamed for everything, right out of the gate.
Family names, middle names and initials, and Jr’s, and III’s, and grandmother’s name, all these bear weight. Some names are off limits, based on our past experience of others. If there is a terrible ex lurking in your memory, the name is tainted forever more.
Another consideration is to predict the potential teasing that may occur with said potential name. Maybe it’s better these days, with teachers and parents becoming more sensitive to bullying and such. Maybe this generation of kids with unusual names are safer than we were.
My cousins called me Sherri Canary. I’m not yellow and I can’t sing, but my legs were skinny enough, so I guess it made sense. I didn’t love it, but it was better than Hairy Sherri or Scary Sherri or others they could have chosen.
And spelling. Holy alphabet, this is another area that really counts. Some names are just easy. You know how spell them and pronounce them with little-to-no-room for error. Like James. Or Scott. Even Benjamin and Alexander with three syllables each are straightforward. Is it only girl names that go completely off the rails? Take a common girl name like Kayley…
Kayley, Kaley, Kailey, Kaleigh, Kaylie, Kailee, Caylee, Cailey, Cayley… see what I mean? My own name comes in a variety pack, and I really don’t care anymore, but it was a big deal when I was a kid. My own grandmother consistently added an “e” on my name, making it Sherrie. Sounds exactly the same, but I was hurt by this when I should have just been happy she remembered me at all. We’ll just consider this a clear sign that I’ve always been a little “extra”.
So much pressure, but then, our need to name things gives us plenty of practice. We name our pets – sometimes as children we have this great honor. I once had a dog named Pickles, inspired while grocery shopping with my mom, of course.
I have heard that men often bestow a name for their man parts (this could be an entire post, but no). We name houses. And boats. Heck, my car even has a name. She’s Rhonda the Honda. My friend has a sporty red SUV, and I suggested the name Ruby.
There’s far less pressure in naming an SUV than in naming a human baby that you bring into the world. This same baby could grow up and hate your guts over a terrible name (remember, it’s mom’s fault).
The one name, over which I have some measure of control, is my grandma name. Also, I should confess that my original name has been modified from Gigi to JoJo. It’s more original. Jo is my middle name, and I liked it so much I shared it with my daughter. I’m told it could change into whatever name the little guy can actually say, but I don’t buy it. He’s gonna learn how to say JoJo eventually.
Regardless of where you stand on names, it’s a fun and slightly grueling process to name your very own child. I’m excited for what they’ve chosen, and I’ll let them delight the world with the announcement when he arrives soon. In the meantime, how do you feel about the name you were given? Did you question your mother’s sanity? Does it carry on a family tradition?
Thanks for reading, until next time,