Our expectant-parent children called last night with good news about the in-vitro health of their soon to be offspring. They also told us the sex of the child (not sure if I am authorized to divulge this information so I won't). The conversation started us talking about baby names.
What's in a name? Quite a lot. A name is an identity, a message to the world that I am unique even if I share my name with thousands of Marys or Jennifers or Johns. Choosing a name should not be taken lightly.
My mother hated her name. Her father thought naming her Melba for a popular 1920s opera star would keep her from inheriting his scratchy off-key singing voice. To avoid the hated first name Mother used Bethine, her middle name, which she also disliked just not quite as much. It pleased her when it was shortened to Beth.
I was named for my mother's beloved first husband's older sister (he was killed in WWII). The two name combination kept me from being an ordinary "Mary." Adding Louise made a shy and awkward child feel special. Every school year my mother wrote a note to the teacher about the need to use my whole name, "She won't know to answer if you call her Mary."
Gary's first name came from the silver screen. He was aptly named for the stoic Gary Cooper.
My son was born before it was common to know the sex of a baby in advance. During the pregnancy we made up a silly name to use until he made his apprearance. Our Aaron could have been a Sarah.
Gary's son was supposed to be a girl. His wife was so certain that she only picked one name, Maegan. When a boy popped out the parents were stuck. "Let's name him after you." his wife decided. Thus we have a Gary I and a Gary II. "Junior" was never an option.
I was happy to know my daughter's sex a few months into the pregnancy. I displayed a list of possible girl names on the refrigerator. Aaron decided she would be Daisy Mae. I was in favor of my husband's German Jewish grandmother's name Rika. "Too unusual." My husband said. We settled on Rebecca, the more common version of the grandmother's name. A one of a kind young woman, sometimes Rebecca wishes we opted for the unusual.
What's in your name?