I recently came across this quote:
In order to get over a problem, it helps to look at it. You can’t climb a mountain that you pretend isn’t there. – Matt Haig
Ooh … I’ve totally done this. I mean, haven’t we all?
But I found myself thinking about how easy it is to do this when it comes to names.
It’s easy to feel like names are simple. Like choosing between Mexican and Thai take-out on a Saturday night, or which series to stream on Netflix. Those are not decisions that require lots of planning or debate. Even if you’d rather have Thai, or you’re not really into Stranger Things, chances are you’ll give in. And never second guess your decision.
Surely you’ll agree on a name. At some point. He won’t really insist on using the middle name Danger, or she can’t be serious about naming your son Lorenzo.
And it’s easy to assume that there’s plenty of time to choose. After the first twelve weeks. When you find out gender. In the third trimester. Choose a milestone, watch it whoosh by as your due date gets closer, and continue to believe that you’ll find some time to have a conversation.
You might be right, of course. I know a couple who made a list early in their marriage, waited to dust it off until she was in labor and managed to agree on a name before their daughter arrived. From the original list.
But after so many years of #namehelp and consulting, I know that they are the exception – by far!
Names prompt us to examine values. Imagine our family’s future. Discuss our families of origin and the religious ideas and traditions we brought with us into a new relationship. They touch on gender and ethnicity. They prompt us to define success. Nothing about this is trivial.
For most of us, choosing a name will take some effort. Compromise. Awkward moments when you confess that no, you don’t think you can possibly name your daughter after his grandmother Gertrude, God rest her soul.
Don’t put it off.
Lace up your boots. Start hiking! We’re here for the trip.
Nancy’s latest edition of Name Quotes begins with … a quote from my last Sunday Summary. Which is just awesome. Thank you! Also: I was today years old when I found out that Taylor Swift was named after James Taylor. I love everything about that story.
Oh gosh, this was not a good moment for this dad. He agreed with his daughter that her old-fashioned name is old-fashioned. Which, okay, objectively Mildred is pretty darn old school. (Remember what I said about don’t wait? I wonder if starting earlier might’ve gotten these parents to a different place …) But it doesn’t really matter, because the right answer is NEVER, NEVER, “yeah your name is kind of awful and I fought it but lost.”
French flower names … including several for boys! I’m not sure how wearable Florimond is for a son in the US, but Marguerite is high up on my short list for a daughter, so I am here for this list.
Speaking of fun lists, check out the three Hanson brothers’ fifteen kids! One of the things I love about it? If you jumble all of the names together, I couldn’t divide them up by sibling set. The brothers and their wives share remarkably consistent naming styles. My favorites? Junia, Odette, and Shepherd. (It’s tough to choose!)
Laura’s list of forgotten unisex names are just fascinating. I’ve championed Adair for years, but this list is packed with compelling possibilities.
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That’s all for this now! As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!
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