Just in case you missed it, Jennifer Moss and the team at BabyNames.com broke the internet this week by doing something so simple, but so powerful. If you haven’t seen their homepage, go now. I’ll wait.
It’s staggering to read that. many. names. Heartbreaking to realize they had to update it to add more. And it’s even worse to realize how many of those names never attracted much attention in the moment. I read the news – or, at least, I thought I did.
So … there are different ways to feel about this moment. We have a global pandemic, mass protests, so much division. Ever-present pain.
And those different ways to feel about this moment? I’m managing to feel them all, at the same time.
History works this way, right? It’s impossible, unthinkable … until it isn’t.
So what comes next?
Our world has been marred by loss and is being re-shaped by protest.
Lately I have a few thoughts about what comes next … at least as far as names are concerned.
More honor names … because too many of our loved ones should still be here. But it’s not just about sudden loss. It’s also that our options for grieving are limited. And if everything changed tomorrow – the pandemic ended, justice and harmony prevailed – our delayed mourning may still prompt many families to re-think their new children’s names.
Less Western names … because the pressure to fit in may finally ease. Names like Yara and Kai feel like future Top 100 – maybe even Top Ten – names.
Different virtue names … because it’s easy to imagine parents wanting to mark these moments with a name that reflects all the hope, as well as the many challenges, ahead.
Then again, all of these trends were on the radar at the start of 2020. Before … well, before everything. So maybe it’s cheating to say that I think the names we choose in 2021 will be sharply different. But look back in a decade, and I suspect we’ll be able to see a faint line, a before and after.
Or … at least I very much hope that’s possible. Because names reflect culture. And if they change, then I hope we will have changed, too. I keep thinking about this quote from Arundhati Roy:
Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.
Now, on to the names.
The Beauty of Names featured Yara. It’s the kind of name that could catch on fast. Actually, it already is.
Malta will now allow Maltese names. Confession: I’m not sure if I realized Malta remained an independent country until fairly recently. (I found myself Googling it when Pete Buttigieg announced his presidential bid; his father immigrated from Malta.) Nancy has the details here.
Whoa … what are the odds that you would welcome identical quadruplets? During a global pandemic? And manage to choose four H names that actually sound great together? Happy to share that the Marr brothers – Hudson Perry, Henry William, Harrison Foy, and Hardy Smith – are all home now and doing fine.
Speaking of boy names, Will Arnett welcomed a son, and I’m crushing on the name. Will and girlfriend Alessandra Brawn named their new arrival Alexander Denison Arnett, but they’re calling him Denny.
That’s all for this week. Thinking of you and yours, and thank you – so very, very much – for being here.