Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Perfect Name Will Find Your Baby

Perhaps naming my kids was a bit of an ego trip for me. I admit it. I had to keep reminding myself that my kids are human beings, not fashion accessories. But why not have some fun naming your kids as long as you don't straddle your kids with a name that's difficult to bear? What's considered "difficult to bear" varies from person to person of course.

As for me, my tastes are mildly fanciful, maybe a bit of what some baby name "experts" call, "hipster." I will say that neither of my kids got my first choice name. My hubs hates most of my names, and has toned down my "craziness" a bit. Maybe my kids will thank him or in 15 years they'll tell him, "Hey Dad, why did you have to rain on Mom's naming parade? I could have had a cool name."

In an ideal world I would have five kids named: Felicity, Sylvie, Ione, Linus and Hugh.  I also really love Cecily, but feel it is too similar to both Felicity and Sylvie to be in the same sibling set. There's my little make-believe family with perfectly harmonious, fashion-forward names. But with me real-life rarely imitates my fantasy.

Felicity was the name I mentally filed away as a teenager for my hypothetical future daughter. I was hesitant to initially commit to it (in my someday future) because I knew a girl in high school named Felicity. But then at graduation I learned she had my same middle name, the middle name I hoped to pass on to my future daughter. I had a eureka moment! Someone thought Felicity flowed well enough with my middle name. Plus, I realized by the time I had a daughter, many years would go by without any contact with this Felicity from high school. I got a little nervous when the show Felicity hit the air, concerned the name would get trendy. But that never happened! I became more convinced Felicity was the name for my daughter!

Until... I mentioned Felicity to Rob before I even became pregnant. I'm not even sure we were married yet when I told him our daughter would be Felicity. His reaction was, "Yuck. Oh no she won't..." I considered holding my ground and then I said Felicity with our 12-letter, 5-syllable last name and began to think maybe Felicity wasn't the name of our daughter. Oh sad day... People suggested Felicia and Felice as alternatives, but they weren't the same. The "Fel" part of the name wasn't what appealed to me, but rather the rhythm of the "icity" part.

We named our daughter Fiona which was very loosely inspired by Felicity. I was surprised Rob agreed to it and I'm not sure he would have if he hadn't known a real-life Fiona when he was a kid, back when the name was truly rare. I picked Fiona thinking I was picking something artsy and exotic, but still wearable for a little girl or a grown woman. After I picked the name, I started hearing it everywhere and was a little concerned it might be an up-and-coming name.

I realize there are more important things to worry about than the fear that you may have inadvertently named your daughter the next Jennifer, but I'm weird like that. I have resigned myself to the fact that my daughter's name is only 5-10 years ahead of its time instead of 20-30 years ahead of its time. Yes, I really am a name snob. I would love to be a 35 year old Ava, but a 5 year old Ava? Not so much. I have to keep reminding myself that Fiona is not me and probably won't care whether or not her name is exciting. She seems to like her name. Fiona also goes well enough with my middle name and our last name. At least my daughter got my middle name which is also my Mom's middle name. And my own Mom said she likes the name Felicity, but Fiona doesn't look like a Felicity, she looks like a Fiona.

I was going to go on and tell the story behind Paul's name, but saw that this post was getting on the longish side. When it comes to names, I can get diarrhea of the keyboard. But my point is that while Fiona may not be my dream name, I have no doubts Fiona was the name meant for my daughter. Naming my daughter didn't have anything at all to do with me, and everything to do with my daughter. The perfect name had found my baby!

I will continue to share the story behind Paul's name in the next post, because it is half-written, and the story behind his name is equally, and maybe even more amusing. The conclusion to Paul's naming story is basically the same: The perfect name had found my baby again, even though it wasn't my first choice. Until next time...

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