This morning at the temple initiatory, most of my names were simply surnames and this struck me in a way that it can only strike a sleep deprived and anxiously addled brain that resides in the cranium of a lady still very much postpartum: I just spent almost nine months obsessing over my baby’s name… and maybe it doesn’t even matter.

Was I sad for these women without first names, without things for me to call them? Or was it more a deep respect a la the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier? Did their lack of moniker and/or our unknowing make them revered? Or were they just ladies with indecipherable birth certificates?

Jude. Did we choose it right? People say to me, “I love that name.” “He’s such a Jude.” I say back, “Really?” and, “Really???” Because I fretted a bit on committing to it. Or even calling him by it for that matter. For the first few weeks, I called him just this: “baby.” How clever and creative of me right? But that’s what he was, that’s all he looked like. Calling him anything would have made his ethereal perfection seem too worldly, and any name was too old, too lawyerish, to actorish, too biblical, too silly, too trendy, too formal…

Do we become our names, or do our names become us? Was it easy for you to name you children? Should whimsy and taste be the only factors taken into consideration, or do we attempt to name the adult we think we’ll raise? What about nicknames? What’s in a name? Or does it really even matter? Is this a silly question only made anxious by aforementioned addled mommy-brain?

But I’m curious, do you love your name?

I do mine. Brooke. And I love Jude’s name too. Now.

41 Comments

  1. FoxyJ

    September 1, 2010

    I like my name (my real name, LOL). It can be a nickname for a more common name so I’ve always had to deal with people assuming my name was really something else, but that’s fine. Oh, and the fact that sometimes I’ve been mistaken for a man on the basis of my name. I’ve always felt like my name fits me and personality and I have wondered if part of that is growing into my name.

    We spent a lot of time on our kids’ names. MY husband grew up in Hawaii, so they all have Hawaiian middle names that complement the meanings of their first names. We named our most recent baby after my husband’s great-grandmother and I think her name really fits her well.

    I just started teaching college courses as an adjunct and I’m struggling to remember nearly 50 names. It’s been interesting to see what names people have and whether or not they seem to ‘fit’

  2. Kay

    September 1, 2010

    Naming our children was not easy because my husband is far more conventional than I am. I had strong views. Our children could not have a popular name, as a teacher it would drive me mad every year to look at my class list and see a few children with the same name. I also had several names that could not be used because they reminded me of children I had taught, I just saw them as ‘naughty’ names. I did not want to call them after relatives. My sil had done this and my husband thought we should follow suit, I did not see why I should do something just because she had. I also feel it is unfair to name them after only one side of the family, so that was out. In the end, our children had the names we could agree on, as simple as that.

    I love the names of my 2nd and 3rd children, but have to admit to now not being so keen on what we named child number 1. Honestly though we were picking names out of thin air in desperation at the hospital. We did have a short list of names for her, but when she was born my husband changed his mind about all of them. I have a ‘thing’ about children being a person and not just a baby, for me they must have names. So she had to be named before I would let him call anyone. I still prefer all of the names that were on the shortlist. She loves her name, so that is o.k. I also insist that my children are called by their proper name and not a shortened version, it drives me nuts to hear people change their beatiful names.

    I loathe my name, not pretty enough. My name is the effect of too much alcohol. My dad went to register me and couldn’t remember how to spell their chosen name of Jacqueline. The registrar sent him away to think about it. My parents did not have a phone so could not ring my mother and check with her. Instead he met my uncle at the pub and had a few too many. They went back to register me and between them still could not spell Jacqueline, but Uncle Harry could spell Jack as it was his brothers’ name. He spelt it out and dad stopped him after the ‘k’, and announced ‘let’s just call her Kay’. so they did, and my drunk father had to go home and explain to my mother how my name had changed.

    Long comment, sorry. It is one of those subjects that I could discuss for hours.

  3. Human Bean

    September 1, 2010

    I love this post! Maybe it’s because my first born is also named Jude! (He is officially named Julian but we agreed we would shorten it to Jude.) And, even though we had talked about his name since before we were ever pregnant and even called him Jude while he was still in the womb I had that same silly hesitation once he was finally here. It always feels a bit like you are forcing something on this helpless perfect little creature- like maybe you should be asking *him* what he would like to be called. I felt that way with all 6 of our kids (Jude, Moira, Simon, Knox, Georgia and Margot) but the names have suited them all perfectly and we love them. In fact, we did tell Jude when he started Kindergarten that he could, of course, choose to be called either Julian or Jude and he snapped back “JUDE is my name!”

    My husband and I both feel that the naming process is almost like a sacred responsibility. Sounds cheesy, but when you consider this choice of yours will be a permanent badge by which your child will represent himself throughout mortality- that is huge! All the names we choose have a background or some special significance to us (family or otherwise) because when our children ask where their names come from we want them each to have a story. My own name came from my great grandmother who was born deaf and lived the most amazing life despite her disability. I was given a book of ancestry which belonged to her and contains stories, names and history of the VanDerPoel family which date back to the 12th century. It sounds strange but I have always felt a little bit of ownership in that remarkable history by sharing her name.

    So yes, names are important to me. :o)

  4. Human Bean

    September 1, 2010

    Sorry, tried to do a smiley face there and it came out as a shocked face. Let’s try again.

    🙂 that’s better

  5. Blue

    September 1, 2010

    I’m fine with my real first name. I always hated my maiden name and felt sorry for my brothers that they’d be stuck with it all their lives. Couldn’t wait to change mine when I married Doc, and was thrilled with his “normal” last name (what’s normal?)

    But my given middle name? Meh. It’s like they couldn’t come up with anything original, so they tacked on the default female name of the era.

    In many cultures, people go by several different nicknames over the course of their lives, to reflect important parts of their lives. I’ve actually spent a lot of time looking into legally changing my middle name to my preferred nickname (Blue)…which I love and go by in many places. Only it’s such a complex thing to mess with at this stage when I’m all “set up” if you will. (If I were getting married/divorced/etc., that would be different).

    Between church ordinances, genealogy, legal stuff (wills, living trusts, etc), financials and investments…it’s all a lot of time and expense. So I looked into the alias/pseudonym possibility, and have decided that’s the route I’m going to take. So, hi! I’m Blue. Nice to meet you. ♥

  6. CS Eric

    September 1, 2010

    Human Bean’s comment about Julian’s “real” name being Jude reminded me of what we recently learned in Primary. We have a new chorister, so she got the names of all the children and put them on popsicle sticks so she could randomly call on them for help. Through this process, we learned that we don’t have a “Madeline,” but we do have a “Maddy.” We also don’t have an “Emily,” but we have an “Emma.”

    I’ve always been proud of my name, since my parents both had grandfathers named Eric. That is one way I know I belong to both sides of the family.

  7. Janell the Great

    September 1, 2010

    When I cannot find a woman’s name while researching genealogy, a common occurrence, it’s because the local gossip columns, her grave marker, and any other sources only refer to her as “Mrs. His Given and Surname.” I can gather sufficient evidence that she existed, but often cannot locate a birth record (certificate being a relatively modern invention), marriage record, or even record of who her parents were. The lack of documentation drives me nuts.

    I’m very fond of my name even if “Janell” is more typically spelled “Janelle.” I agree with my parents who whacked off the “e” for aesthetics. Granted, perhaps if my name were Janelle I would think it looks strange with six letters instead of seven. The name itself is a nice balance of familiar-sounding, infrequent, and feminine.

    I miss using my maiden name as my surname; no one ever had to ask for clarification on spelling or pronunciation. My new surname is just fine – I neither love it nor dislike it. I suspect I’ll grow into it eventually. For now, my husband will just have to remain curious as to why I sign my entire name – first middle/maiden and last.

    The closest he’s come to understanding is why I put for the argument as to why _he_ should be the one to take on _my_ surname instead of vice versa. I didn’t intend to persuade him to such. I just needed him to have an inkling the sense of loss.

    Ah, though I love the look of chagrin he’s had on his face the three times someone has referred to him as Mr. MyMaidenName. I’m quite convinced I’m not going to change my names on my customer “loyalty” cards simply so I can repeat the experience a few more times.

  8. anita

    September 1, 2010

    I love my name, particularly since it is a combination of my two grandmothers’ names: Anna + Unita = Anita. Our children were named very carefully, prayerfully, and thoughtfully, and so I’ve struggled recently with my almost 12 year old not liking her name and inventing different nicknames for it. Maybe it’s just the age…
    I just wanted to comment on your temple experience–from a genealogy perspective, it may not be an indecipherable birth certificate but that the poor woman can’t be found in the records at all–many women are hard to trace, and so their work is done as Mrs. So-and-so because you know your ancestor had a mother, just not what her name was (yet). Finding female ancestors is especially tricky and rewarding.
    Thanks for an interesting post!

  9. JK

    September 1, 2010

    I have never liked my first name. It was the #1 name for girls the year I was born. Ugh. My middle name, on the other hand, is unique and I love it. I definitely want to name my children with more unique, meaningful names. But my husband, who has a unique name, wants to name our kids standard, generic names. Like Ashley (sorry to any Ashley’s out there, but I hate that name). We are coming from opposite perspectives, and I think it will be difficult to find a meeting place in the middle.
    I feel such a responsibility naming children because I believe it can really shape and/or reflect who they are. I always love reading those cheesy books about the meaning of names and the characteristics of a person with that name. It can’t all be coincidence.

  10. Kalli

    September 1, 2010

    oh you, writing about something so relevant to me right now…

    We’ve had a fight over this one. Our last name is so, unique (?) that it’s a major requirement for our children’s names to be short, easy to spell and definitely not made up if you know what I mean. Sounds easier than it is though.

    I’ve gone my whole life having to spell my first and last names, and now my maiden which I kept as my middle name as well (my parents never gave me a middle hoping I would do that). In the end, you just have to go with what feels most right you know? My brother and his wife named their son Jacob 2 years ago even though it was THE most popular name that year, but that’s who he. He’s Jacob.

    I love my name, it’s different from the Brittneys and Amandas and Melissas you commonly hear in my 80’s generation. I love it so much I use it as a noun.

  11. Laurel C.

    September 1, 2010

    No one is named Laurel.

    Whenever I have to verbally tell someone my name, they never understand what I’m saying. “Laura?” No. “Lauren?” No. “Carl?” No. Maybe I don’t enunciate well? Finally I just say, “No, ‘Laurel’ like ‘Laurel and Hardy.'” Ten years ago that always cleared things up. I’d get a knowing, “Oh! Okay.” But now? No one knows who Laurel and Hardy are anymore, and I get a blank look. Like I’M the weird one. Now I just give the McDonalds cashier lady who needs a name to call out my food order a pseudonym… it’s just easier. What’s it to her if my name really isn’t “Raelynn?”

  12. Rebecca

    September 1, 2010

    I love this post topic! My baby is four months old, and before she was born I put off giving her name much thought in hopes it would just “come to me” after she was born. Bad idea. Having named five other children, I had no idea the naming process could be so painful. Reflecting on my other children’s names, I was suddenly realizing the finality of my choices (I’m a little slow), so I was stressing over making the “right” choice.

    At her four-day doctor’s appointment, I was studying the birth announcements in the exam room and saw the name Camryn. I had seriously considered the name Camry/Kamry (along with several others) throughout my pregnancy, and I liked Kamryn for the alliteration with my last name. Funny thing–I never thought twice about the name Cameron for a boy, but I was suddenly really liking it as a name for my baby girl. Still, I didn’t commit until two weeks after she was born. People are still caught off guard a little bit when I tell them my baby girl’s name is Kamryn, because they naturally here, “Cameron,” but that’s OK.

    Given the opportunity to name my children over again, there are a couple I would probably change. But thankfully, they are not complaining.

    One more thing, I like my name because of the spiritual experience my dad had in determining it before I was born. I like to believe I chose it, and he got the message. Still, I was “Becky” until I graduated from high school. (I don’t know how that started.) Then I decided to go by Rebecca when I went off to college.

  13. Angie f

    September 1, 2010

    My married surname is a single syllable verb and almost no one gets it right when told, even when I spell it. So, we wanted our children to have good solid names that weren’t too strange, but not too common either. With each of our children, the names have just come to us eventually, where we feel that this is the person we are about to meet. I also come from a long family tradition of beloved nicknames; there are certain relatives whose actual given names I didn’t learn until I was an adult. I have many nicknames for my children and they have many for each other. Nicknames to me have always been signals of intimacy and affection and therefore something to be cherished and not avoided.

  14. jendoop

    September 1, 2010

    Maybe part of the responsibility we have as parents is in naming our children. I think that after we have a name for all of our mortal life it would be strange to change it in the afterlife. It’s a homage to our parents that we stick with our given names. Even though I hate to be called Jennifer, please, it’s Jen.

    We have a foster son and I feel that his name doesn’t fit him. But again, that’s not my role, his parents had that privilege.

    You have to admit that no matter how inspired we are as parents, culture plays a large role. Anyone named their child Mildred recently?

  15. Tay

    September 1, 2010

    Yes! I know how this is! For the first month I had the hardest time referring to my baby as Sean. I knew it was the right name, but I felt like I was taking something from him, like his right to stay perfect for a little longer. I don’t know.

    Names are definitely one of the few things my husband and I cannot agree on. My name is quite uncommon and his is very common, and we both liked it that way. So it’s always a constant trying to find a name that isn’t common but most people have heard it used and it doesn’t have a strange spelling. SO HARD. Especially when I am really trying to feel out the baby’s personality and go by that. We got lucky with Sean and hopefully this next one I’ll feel more confident about in the next 8 weeks.

  16. michelle

    September 1, 2010

    I think I can pretty much guarantee we have the most pathetic (and humorous) child naming stories. (The short version? We changed two of them and then #3 ended up getting #2’s original name, even though we did give her a different middle name, even though I really wanted to give her the same middle name, because it was mine. The long version includes a judge suppressing laughter and a lot of initial struggle on my part.)

    I love my name.

    And for the record, I think names are important. They play significantly in our liturgy and doctrine and practices…even if sometimes we can’t read birth certificates. 😉

    And Brooke, I love your name. And your writing.

  17. Eliana

    September 1, 2010

    I hated my name for so long…the awkward pause when a teacher would come to my last name in the alphabet. I’d raise my hand and say, ‘Eliana. That’s me.’
    But now I love it, wouldn’t change it. It is unique and I like that. I like that it doesn’t match how I look, that it makes people think twice, and that I rarely have to share it.
    I also love my full name which is a large part of why I didn’t change it when I got married.
    My first son was supposed to be a girl, according to many ultrasounds, so naming him was hard. But the second one fell into place and I love his name (Owen). It suits him and is a nice shout out to one of my favorite books (A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY).
    Naming is such a big thing to me, as an English professor. Call something fat or robust, big difference. There’s quite a power in how we name.

  18. Sharlee

    September 1, 2010

    I love the name Skye. For a girl. If I had had another girl, I would have named her Skye. No one else in my family likes the name though, so I guess it’s a good thing we didn’t have another girl. 🙂

    I don’t love my name, but I’ve gotten used to it. If I could chose my own name, it would be Skye.

  19. corktree

    September 1, 2010

    With this last one (our first boy) it was really hard to pick a name. Everyone kept asking during the pregnancy what his name was, and we just had no idea! I had a feeling that we would just know what his name was when we saw him…but I’m not sure if that was true or not. When we finally settled, it did seem right, but calling him “the boy” was just so much easier. I was actually afraid that it would be revealed somehow that the name my girls wanted for him would be the name he was meant to have. But then it really didn’t seem to fit him, and everyone was happy with the eventual outcome ( I REALLY didn’t appreciate their choice) I also think people become their names, so it probably doesn’t really matter.

    And my husband has an evolutionary process of coming up with nicknames for our kids. By the time he settles on one, it is SO far from their actual name that it’s comical.

  20. Julie P

    September 1, 2010

    I’m indifferent to my name – it’s nothing very special to me, and the only julie’s you hear of were born within 5 years of me, up or down. Naming our children is hard as I come up with the names, and my husband shoots them down. Our oldest has his name because my husband would not ever agree to anything different. I don’t love the name (but don’t tell him that) and didn’t even think to consider the popularity of it. Both my first and second children have very common names. I’m ok with it for number 2, though because while holding him for the first time I had a spiritual experience which led us to change his name from what we’d agreed on the day before. For my 3rd child and first daughter my husband thankfully agreed that we could name her a beautiful name that’s pretty unusual. We’ve had people make rude comments and I don’t care. I love it.

  21. Kris

    September 1, 2010

    I love nicknames, too. I think they are affectionate and endearing, and to be treasured. My daughter is referred to as Bug many times more often than her given name.

    Naming is hard! For me, one particular challenge in naming our daughter was finding a name that is respectable as an adult. Seems like many females names that are popular right now are adorable for a towhead in pigtails, but might sound odd for a 30-something in an office setting. Is it just me?

    Then again, “Hello, this is Bug. Can I help you?” doesn’t scream professional, either, so what do I know?

  22. Strollerblader

    September 1, 2010

    In naming our kids, we have shot for a name out of the Top 100, but not in the Top 10. I kind of regret what we named our 2nd dd, because it is so popular, and to my surprise, we apparently didn’t go with a standard spelling. (I thought that the spelling we chose was used equally as much as another spelling [Abbie]. I was wrong. As a side note: I have loved that name ever since I was little and watched Eight is Enough on TV. Incidentally, I just looked up that actress a couple of months ago, and found out that wasn’t even her character’s real name — it was a nickname of her surname!)

    I am a Jennifer. I was *never* the only one in my classes. I even had a couple of my closest friends who not only had the same first name, but the same middle name. That played a role in the names we gave our kids. I didn’t want them to have to share their name in classes like I did. That’s why I kind of regret Abbie’s name — it is more popular than we thought. Oh well. It fits her fine and I still love the name.

    I went by Jenny up until my junior year of high school, when I started going by Jen. Jenny always made me think of a cutesy cheerleader, of which I am not, but I really love Jen and think it fits me. I don’t mind being called Jennifer, but it just tells me that that person doesn’t know me.

  23. FoxyJ

    September 1, 2010

    Sharlee–

    My sister’s name is Skye. For years she hated it because it’s unusual and because people couldn’t really understand her (they always thought she was saying ‘Scottie’ or something like that). Plus she’s almost six feet tall so people make jokes about her name. But I think it’s beautiful and it really fits her. She’s grown into it and it’s hard to imagine her being named anything else.

  24. Kevin Barney

    September 1, 2010

    You might be interested in my blog on the name “Jude”:

    http://bycommonconsent.com/2010/04/12/hey-jude/

  25. Selwyn aka Kellie

    September 2, 2010

    My Mum named me after a famous Australian bush ranger (outlaw) at the request of an alcoholic Irishman… and she then spelled it differently to every other girl with the same name, meaning I’ve had to spell it out for the past 30 years… So with my sons, the name HAD to be obvious on how to spell it! My eldest has a lovely Irish name, no problems, and we knew that was his name. Then for son #2, his name was obvious – it was only AFTER we’d announced his birth and name that I realised that his name had 3 spelling options.

    It could have been due entirely to the pregnancy/postpartum hormones, but I didn’t care. Still don’t. My guys have their perfect names.

  26. Stephanie2

    September 2, 2010

    I guess I honestly don’t think names are that big of a deal. Before I got married, I had 8 names picked out, but we haven’t used any of them. With the first, we were going to name him one thing, then I heard a baby blessed with another name and thought it was the most perfect name in the whole world. I chose my second’s name before he was even conceived just because I liked the name. My third was another name I heard and liked.

    Naming my fourth was different. My husband and I both felt separate inspiration while I was pregnant that he needed to be named after a particular ancestor with an odd Biblical name. Both of us were scared to tell the other person because it was such an odd name that we thought the other person would balk. It was a pretty sweet experience when we each tentatively said, “Well, I think his name is supposed to be _________”.

    With my fifth (first girl), we used letters from both of our names to form her first name.

    All of my kids have family names for their middle names.

    Their names seem to fit them well, but I don’t know if that is just because we’ve called them that for so long. Either way, it works. I am not of the opinion that we had names before we came to earth or that the names we give our children were their “heavenly” names. It makes me wonder what we called each other in heaven.

  27. Stephanie2

    September 2, 2010

    After writing all of that, I think I might have changed my own mind. Perhaps the name I had picked out for my first child was a mistake, and the Lord helped me correct it. Maybe names are more important than I thought. I grew up with a lot of Stephanies, so my name was never unique, and I never really thought much about it.

  28. Stephanie2

    September 2, 2010

    Sorry for all the comments, but I thought of one more thing. My mother is HUGELY into names. When I was growing up, she had a million baby name books (pre-internet times). When she was pregnant, she would make huge lists of first name and middle name combinations. She would write them in printing, cursive, all-caps, etc. She would look up all the meanings for names. She wanted to make sure the name looked good when printed and sounded good when spoken. She just about died when I casually picked my children’s names. Blasphemy! (Ok, sure, I did write them out once to make sure they looked okay)

  29. CatherineWO

    September 2, 2010

    I love names and think they are very important. There were lots of girls named Cathy/Kathy when I was growing up (in the 50s), but I was named after a grandmother, so I thought my “Cathy” was special. When I married someone with a name ending in “y” I went back to Catherine.
    One funny thing is that I have never adjusted to that married last name. Even after 37 years, I think of myself as Catherine W________, not Catherine O_____. I love my husband dearly, and would not trade him for anything, but I would gladly drop the O name.

  30. Angie f

    September 2, 2010

    There is something to be said for thinking through names and their combinations. A friend tells the story of their family friends announciing the birth of their daughter: Tara Elizabeth Reiser. Tara Reiser. They had never just said the first and last name together without the middle name. I never found out if little Tara became something less “harrowing” upon having the obvious pointed out to her parents. But I would hope so. I grew up as a Turner. And at one point, my mom really loved the name Paige for an arriving younger sister. Until someone pointed out (gratefully so) that perhaps Paige Turner wasn’t the best combination.

  31. Stephanie2

    September 2, 2010

    Couple more name stories. My mom was going to be given one name if she came out with dark hair and another if she came out with light hair. She was born with dark hair, so she was given the dark hair name. However, it soon turned blonde, and she has been a blonde her whole life.

    One of my friends is naming her kids with letters from their last name. There are 8 letters in their last name, and so far they have had 7 kids. We are all wondering if they will go to 8, and what they will do if they have 9.

  32. ErinAnn

    September 2, 2010

    My married name is another one of those difficult ones — long, and unexpected pronunciation. It’s Scottish, but most folks pronounce the “ei” sound like German. Only once has anyone new to my family ever gotten it right on the first try — and that was a woman from Scotland. 😀

    As a result we wanted traditional names (read: old fashioned) with traditional spellings. It turns out that they all go really well with our ethnic heritage as a result. All of the names hail from the British Isles.

    I agree that the name suits the child as they grow into it. What wrinkly, smooshing little baby can carry and adult name? As I’ve watched my girls grow, I’ve been completely please with their names. They are not trendy or popular names, but they are familiar names that they can apply their own personality to.

    (My Jane is *not* plain.)

  33. madhousewife

    September 2, 2010

    I don’t love my name. I don’t hate it. It’s okay. I just find it boring. But maybe I’m boring.

    Laurel (#11) – Funny. We named our daughter Laura, and EVERYBODY hears it the first time as “Laurel.” Maybe I’m pronouncing it wrong. 🙂

  34. Cissy

    September 2, 2010

    How fun to hear everyone’s thoughts about names! I love this topic so much that I’ve been mentally writing a little essay of my own for some time now. Two thoughts from me…

    In the same thought of giving me a given and middle name, my parents also assigned me a permanent nickname–they called me only and always Cissy. I sign my checks with “Cecilia”, and use it for nothing else; now, in light of your post, I wonder if any of my descendants will know I never actually used that name. To me, to everyone, I am Cissy. Even when I mull over the odd sound of it, it’s still my essence, my personality, and I like it. In our early days of marriage, my husband once asked me if he could call me Cecilia–he actually has an aunt called “Sissy”–and I think my answer was something like, “Not if you want me to respond.”

    Then, in my husband’s family, everyone seems to acquire strange nicknames that are worn like badges of honor. Visitors to our gatherings have even asked just what so-and-so’s name really is? Surely Bagoda and Berfie, Hubba and Babs, Kyper and Soup can’t be given names! I love it. Family nicknames are so endearing and unique…and, unlike mine, they don’t generally become permanent.

  35. KJ

    September 2, 2010

    My husband has the same name as a famous American. He hated it as a child (lots of teasing) but has grown into it–though sometimes strangers don’t believe he’s serious when he introduces himself.

    When our son was born, there was much debate about ‘handing down’ the famous name. After hearing dh’s stories, I was against it. We ended up giving him the famous first name as a middle name, but a different first name–which turned out to be the first name of one of the famous American’s sons! This way if my son should ever really want to go by the ‘famous’ name, he can use his middle name.

    As for nicknames, I love them for the intimacy and familiarity the seem to imply. My mother has been called by a nickname her whole life and she hated it. So she named us the name she wanted us to be called. In my sister’s case, she is Tamara, not Tami. In my case, I was given a name that is a shortened version of several common names because that is what my mother wanted to call me. I always wished it was something that had a cute nickname! I guess we’ll bound to disappoint at least some of our children with their names, despite our best intentions to get it right!

  36. kim

    September 2, 2010

    I’ve never liked my name. My parents gave me a first name which I really don’t like, but they never used it- always called me by my middle name, which is boring Kim…not Kimberly…just Kim. This has always been a pain when I have to do any “official” paperwork such as at a Dr’s office. I try to get them to use my middle name, but it never works, so I end up being called by my first name…bleh. Just annoying!

    I’ve always liked my girls’ names and they do too- I asked! No exciting stories as to how their names were chosen. We just heard names from random places and liked them. They all have middle names- again just chosen for no special reason, except for our last. Her middle name is Kimberly, which I always wished was my name (see above).

    One thing we did do regarding their names that is a little unusual is we NEVER revealed our name choices until the babies were born…not to ANYONE.
    Our girls who’ve had babies continued this tradition. Just added an extra element of fun and surprise to our precious grandbabies’ births, especially since it’s so common to know your baby’s sex before it’s born. At least there’s one surprise left if we’re all waiting to hear the baby’s name. 🙂
    Fun topic!

  37. Rosalyn

    September 3, 2010

    I love names–I was one of those weird people who read baby name books for fun before I even had kids (there’s a fascinating one that was called Beyond Jennifer and Jason, now I think it’s beyond Madison and Montana, something like that, that goes into some of the cultural associations with names, not just their standard meanings). That said, naming our kids has been interesting because I like names that are a little unusual, and my husband is (like many others on this comment thread) conservative. Our compromise? I get the final say on the girl’s names and he gets the final say on the boys. That said, I’ve always liked my name–I’ve only met a handful of women with names that were even close (Rosalind being the most common). And I like that I was named after my grandparents (Ross + Evelyn). (Although I have to admit that combining names doesn’t always work: my husband and I realized pretty quickly that the same wouldn’t work for our children, who would end up as either Puce or Bratti . . .)

  38. Olive

    September 3, 2010

    I think names are important and should be chosen carefully…but I don’t think they have spiritual significance or need to be prayed about. I have friends who literally lose sleep and fret for months because they haven’t received ‘inspiration’ for their child’s name. It probably has to do with our whole ‘prexistence-preordination’ belief. But honestly, I think its a bit extreme and a little silly. I don’t HF gives a rap about we what name our kids, so long as we love them.

    I like to use at least family name, usually middle, because I want my children to have a sense of place in our family history. I think it helps them ‘belong’ and to be more interested in their lineage.

    Other than that, as long as its spelled relatively normal, I’m all for it. Though I had to laugh the other day when I saw someone had named their daughter Ahlyviah, just like TAM of Seriously So Blessed, LOL!

  39. meems

    September 3, 2010

    I’m another weird one who LOVES names. As a young kid I would check out baby name books from the library and read them over and over. My own given name is pretty boring, and meems is a nickname which I do like, alhtough very few people call me by it since I’ve grown up. My own kids have terrific names – Julian being one of them! He’s mostly called Julian but at a young age his sister named him juna so he’s Juna and Jules and Julian.

    When I was filling out the birth certificates in the hospital I contemplated sneaking in an extra middle name in there. A hippie name like Rainbow or Sunshine or something. That would have been fun. I’d do it if I could do it all over again!

    I wish I could have had more kids — just for the fun of naming them!!

  40. Olea

    September 3, 2010

    I love my name! My mum was a teacher, so she couldn’t name me anything ‘normal’, and was reading the Pearl of Great Price right before I was due. Olea is what HF named the moon. I’ve never met or heard of anyone with the same name as me.

    My middle name is Blossom, and I’m named for one of mum’s mission companions who was a Polynesian and that was her first name.

    We moved a lot and could choose at each new school which name we wanted to go by, so we each got to create our own identity, but we all stuck with our ‘normal’ names every time. (My youngest brother goes by his middle name, and has since he was a baby and my littlest sister uses her first and second names together, hyphenating them).

    I hate my surname (probably in part because I am estranged from my father, but I’ve never liked the sound of it). It’s difficult to spell and pronounce. I can’t wait to get rid of it upon marriage! Though, after my parents divorce, it was hard for all of us when mum changed back to her maiden name, and had a different surname from us kids.

  41. Katie E

    September 4, 2010

    I love my name…that’s Katie..with an ie. I was named after my mom’s best friend growing up. Her name was Kathryn but my mom always called her Katie. So I’m just a Katie. I love my last name! It’s odd to for me to hear my maiden name anymore. For me I am Katie and my married name…it’s who I am. My boys’s name fit them well and are perfect. Of course they will have the life long joy of spelling and correcting their last name as I have had for 14 years now. That’s what happens when you have a middle eastern last name! But I love it!

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