Alex Ice Hockey 2017Naming is a funny thing. It seems like it’s done when you fill out your child’s birth certificate. But in many ways, names evolve over time – and much of it is out of our control.

There are nicknames, of course, the intentional ones and the surprises.

And then there’s the process of your child learning to speak and finding his way in this life, and figuring out how to wear the name you’ve gifted him.

The best names, I think, unfold over a lifetime. We find new things to love about them, unexpected ways that they make sense for the children who bear them.

I had a moment like that on the sidewalk the other day, on the walk home from school with my towering 13 year old son and my chatty 9 year old daughter. She never tires of talking names – must be in the blood. But my son? I wasn’t expecting him to ask, “So what does my name mean?”

His name is Alexander, and he eats, sleeps, and breaths ice hockey. But this year, he switched from offense to defense. It was like a piece snapped into place. He’s a reliable left wing, but at defense? He shines.

And what does Alexander mean? Why, defender of men, of course.

It’s like his name knew something about his future all along.

Does your name seem to fit in a way no one could have anticipated? Or have you discovered more reasons to love your children’s names over time?

Elsewhere online:

That’s all for this week. As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!

Girl Names 4.29.18Boy Names 4.28.18

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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  1. So glad to see a Vaila mention! I love it. And the meaning of Alex, your little defense star is so perfect.

  2. I have an examples of a name fitting the people who have them. Before our first child was conceived, we picked out the names we wanted. When the baby was born, it was a girl and we named her Ausa (OW sa) Miranda, Latin for ‘daring attempt which must be admired.’ It was in her adolescence that she became admired. She really started to blossom and come out of her shell. Parents of other children in her class would come up to me, telling me how amazing she was. It was then I realised that although her name originally fit her parents’ situation, it now fit her. I was pretty blown away by that.