Thursday, January 5, 2012

Naming Names

image from here

Choosing names can be a difficult task because a name is something that sticks for a very long time. From babies to businesses, from pets to domain names. Screen names, user names, blog names, book characters. Names lend distinction. People name boats and estates, even shacks. Women get married and add onto their original, then often wish they never had.

Names last but they are not static. They are susceptible to trends and social influence, falling in and out of favor with the times, celebrities, criminals, world events, even elections.  At some point, everyone wants to be called something different. Just last night, my daughter said she wanted to be named Erica. This is not the first time she's offered an alternative. She's 10 and it won't be the last.

I put a lot of thought into naming my kids. Following in the Jewish tradition, we designated letters, chosen in memory of our grandmothers, to begin the search. I didn't go to the baby-naming books, but rather, as any magazine editor would do, browsed mastheads. I tested each possibility out loud. I whispered it like I might at bed time. Shouted it like I might at a playground. Spoke the names sternly and softly. I did not want to stick my kids with names that would be frequently misspelled or mispronounced. My husband gave his opinion too. In the end, our two girls were given gender neutral names. First came Dylan Rose, then Sammi (long for Sam) Bea. I can't really imagine our girls being called anything but what they are.

The son I never had would have been named Ziggy. When my kids hear this, they are grateful they are girls. I fell in major like with "Ziggy." It conjured up images of a happy-go-lucky bright boy with corkscrew curly hair and a wild side. I imagined he'd grow up to be a doctor, perhaps a pediatrician, and the kids would all clamor after him. "Dr. Ziggy, Dr. Ziggy,"  they would chant endearingly. The caring doctor with boyish good looks and an untamed head of hair would be well-loved. That is the name I chose for the boy I never had, and I may recycle it someday for the dog I hope to have. Please use it if you like!

Did you ever come up with a great name that you couldn't use? Share it.

1 comment:

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