Wednesday, November 08, 2006

What Is In A Name?

When my son was born, I was just about to turn 32 and his father was 56. Most people figured that was our reason for not having any more children. Wrong! I could not fathom having to go through picking names again. What a disaster. It almost wrecked our marriage.

We did agree that a name was very important. We agreed that it was possible for name to motivate a kid or make him/her the object of ridicule on the playground. We agreed that we should find out what meanings were behind any names we liked or selected. And we even agreed on a few girls' names and that we would wait until the baby arrived to select one of those names.

Although we did not have any scientific evidence, we both wondered if having a name that was considered strange or weird would affect the personality outcome of a child.

I shared some facts about girls that I had known in my youth. Candy became a dancer. Laura was a librarian. And Elizabeth became an attorney. You really had to wonder if the names their parents chose had any impact on their career choices.

While we did share a love of just a few girls' names, we could not agree upon a boy's name. Actually, there were hundreds of names that we both loved. And that was the problem.

The mister spent hours each day pouring over books about baby names and their meanings. Some were strong names. Some names showed integrity. Others were names that sounded wise. There were names that evoked smiles and others that brought back good memories.

Finally, we did agree on a first name, if our baby was a boy. But our problems were not over. The mister had worked with computers when they took up entire buildings. When our son was born, though, the mister was a piano bar player. He wrote and sang and played piano and was actually very creative and artistic. That was our problem. He went about choosing the middle name(s) for our child with a vengeance, trying to be creative and poetic.

Day and night, the mister played with middle names. At one point, he had a list of about sixteen names that he dearly loved. And that's when he got the bright idea that our child should have all of those names. That's right. He wanted to saddle our child, if it was a boy, with a "poem" of names. Actually, the way the mister spoke that list of boys' names was quite entertaining and unique and poetic, but I could not imagine giving a small child the burden of having almost twenty names. The mister thought that it was a perfect idea. Our bickering became a daily thing, and I truly thought we would be divorced before the child was ever born.

When the day came that I was to have labor induced, the mister was ecstatic. He brought the camera along to document the birth, and when I ended up having an emergency c-section, he still took pictures. He wanted the bloody pictures to be a part of our family album, and another fight ensued.

The next morning, before the mister could arrive at the hospital, a shy woman crept into my room. She wakened me and asked if my husband and I had selected a name for our son.

Since the mister was not there, I gave her the first name he and I had selected, plus two middle names and our last name. Instead of a list of almost twenty names, our son had just one more name than usual.

When the mister arrived, I told him that the birth certificate would not have held all of those names. I also explained that there would have been a far greater chance that the birth records would have been wrong had we insisted on giving our child so many names. Both of these were partially true.

Does a baby become the meaning of the name given? Or do parents know from the start what traits their child will have?

Our baby's name meant ruler, and he certainly acted as if he knew that. From the very start, he tried to run the show. Actually, after 22 years, he still tries.

about the author

Marilyn Mackenzie has been writing about home, family, faith and nature for over 40 years. This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.BabyNameVote.Com/ which is a site for Baby Names.

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