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Naming Babies - Livin' the Good Life

Nov. 15th, 2010

05:18 pm - Naming Babies

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As a child, I loved making up names. I loved naming my dolls, my pets, and particularly my imaginary horses. I went through a number of names for myself, as well. At four, my name was “Cookie”. My best friend and I renamed ourselves and were careful to call each other by our new names. Hers was “Lighty” (???) and even though I remember thinking it was a dumb name, I called her that anyway. Later, I went through other names. For years, I was Pamela… and then Denise. My next-door neighbor was named Melanie. I loved that name too and would have named myself that, but figured it would be too confusing. Melanie and I had a “little girl love affair” going on for years. She had named herself Penny, and we carried on a passionate relationship through letters that were passed back and forth weekly. We addressed each other as Penny and Denise and professed our undying love for each other with melodramatic statements, lots of hearts, and oh yes, perfume on the envelopes. It was all very romantic. Somehow, using made-up names added to the pleasure of it all.
Fast-forward to my adult years, and I was surprised at how hard it was to name my own kids. Gone was the romance of thinking up names. I felt weighted down with the responsibility of naming someone else, for REAL! And I didn’t even know that person yet. How could I possibly name a person I had not even met? What if they didn’t like their name? Steve was no help because he enjoyed coming up with names he thought were humorous. This made me feel all the more responsible for picking a name that told our child that we took him seriously and thought he was smart, capable, wonderful, and lovable. We ended up deciding to leave their middle names up to them, just in case they didn’t like our choice of first names. Damian is the only one to-date who has not settled on a middle name, though when he was three, he was pretty set on the name “Roderbush”. Don’t ask me why! It was a tremendous family joke. In retrospect, I am very happy with the names we came up with for our five sons, and I think they like them too. I WAS sorry I never got to name a girl, as I had several favorites. But, that was not to be.
As Damian and Maya are approaching the naming of their child, I find myself noticably relieved that it’s not me doing the choosing. It’s now their turn to have that responsibility, and I think they are having a good time with it. I just get to sit back and see what they come up with. Even though I have preferences, of course, I will learn to love any name they come up with. And that’s because it will be attached to a little person who I am madly in love with, and their name will just be a magic symbol that becomes attached to that love.