–From Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)
I’ve been tagged for a meme by Jeremiah McNichols of Z Recommends. Being new to the blogosphere, I first had to figure out what a meme was! According to Wikipedia, “The term “meme” (IPA: /miːm/), coined and popularized in 1976 by the biologist Richard Dawkins, refers to a “unit of cultural information” which can propagate from one mind to another in a manner analogous to genes (i.e., the units of genetic information).” This meme is about children’s names. Jeremiah was tagged by Adrienne of Baby Toolkit, who won our Eco Child’s Play monthly hemp shopping bag giveaway for April (stay tuned until tomorrow to find out who May’s winner is!) Here are the meme directions: Give the meaning of your kids’ names, and write about what or how or why you gave the name to your kids. Tag five people to play along and leave a comment at their blog to let them know they have been tagged.
Before I tell you about my children’s names, please watch this beautiful video morphing women’s portraits throughout art history. As I watched this video, I couldn’t help wondering about the women behind the images, some of who’s stories I knew, and their names.
Choosing a child’s name is one of the earliest and hardest decision a parent makes, as you have to live with the name forever! I am glad I had practice with dogs, but this also became a problem. My partner felt we used our best boy name on our dog and wanted to give our son the same name. Of course, we could have changed the dog’s name, but he is old and the name suits him. I thought it would be confusing for the dog and my son to have the same name, even though my son will outlive the dog.
This is the process we went through to find names. First, we selected three to four names for each sex. We lived with these names and talked about them with family and friends, who suggested more and more names. Most of the suggestions, I rejected, as I associate a name with a personality I have previous known. I have always found it easier to chose female names; I don’t know why. My grandmother died when I was pregnant with my daughter. This would have been her first great grandchild. As I flew to see her in the hospital, I decided to tell her I would name my child after her, if it was a girl, if I made it before she died. I did not make it in time. My sister had told me that she had already planned to use this name, and I could sense my partner wasn’t too thrilled by it, but he would have gone along if it was what I wanted. We did not name her after my grandmother, as I felt it was unfair to all the other dearly lost women in our family, like my partner’s mom, to select this name. Not to be superstitious, but I also consulted a book on name meanings in the airport bookstore and discovered negative associations with this name.
We like to have our children select their names, sort of like how Native Americans traditionally get to know a child before naming them. When our daughter was born, we spoke to her the three names we were considering, including my grandmother’s, and she turned her head to her given name. Her name means “in the likeness of God.”
Naming my son was more difficult. There were only two boy names that I liked, even after resorting to online name sites and books. I wanted to name him Langston, after Langston Hughes, but my partner thought it sounded like a last name (funny, his name now is also some one’s last name). He also thought people would call him Langy for short. After my son was born, he was not given the chance to respond to his name, because he was unresponsive. He was breathing and pink, but he was very lethargic and wouldn’t nurse. His congenital heart defect took center stage, and somehow, his name seemed trivial. When we rushed from our home birth to the doctor’s office, he was given his name sort of by default when the doctor wanted a name for his records. Somehow this made it official, but we still weren’t committing. It was my sister, out of frustration with us, who started calling him by his name from our leading name candidate. Our son’s name means “of the sea”, which is appropriate since his daddy is a commercial fisherman.