I have lots of "name rules" that I'm a stickler for (in no particular order):
1. The name that they "go by" can't be too common. With every name we consider, I check the social security rankings. I'm not kidding people! It cannot be in the top 20 for that gender, preferably not in the top 50. My "given" name was Amanda Jill. I was an Amanda born in 1979. There were 4 Amandas in my Kindergarten class of 20 kids. That's 20% of the class!!!! I got sick of being Amanda M., so I decided in the 1st grade that I wanted to go by Jill. I love it, it fits me, but I don't want this to happen to my child.
2. I'm traditional and Southern, so I want at least one of their names (first or middle) to be from our family.
3. The entire name, first middle and last, has to sound good together. To achieve this, the following guidelines must be followed:
- The name they go by has to sound good with our last name.
- The last letter of the first name and the first letter of the middle (or last) name cannot be the same letter or sound. We could never have a Jacob Brooks Black, for example.
- The first, middle and last names together must have an odd number of syllables, because it's just more pleasing to the ear. If you don't believe this one, try it. It's true.
4. The name has to sound right for an adult. With every name I think, "Could s/he become a CEO, an engineer, a doctor or an attorney with this name and be taken seriously?"
5. No ridiculous spellings of traditional names. Don't ruin a perfectly good name like Caleb by spelling it Kaleb. It just makes you look like you can't spell!
I can't help it! I'm OCD! Don't judge me! Now, on to the names.
Ever since I was a young girl, I've heard stories about my great-grandmother (my mom's maternal grandmother), Grammie. By the time I came along, she lived in a nursing home and had severe Alzheimer's. She was struck with this horrible disease, that also took my Meme (her daughter), at the age of 55. You read that correctly, she was 55 years old when she began to show signs of early dementia that eventually developed into Alzheimer's. She was an AMAZING, TOUGH, Southern woman. She divorced Poppa after her children were grown, because he was mean-as-a-snake, back when it was not common at all. And she supported herself by turning sheet metal on an assembly line in an aluminum plant next to some of the roughest men around. When I say she was a tough lady, I mean it. She was a woman that most certainly passed on her strength and determination to the women in our family (we get the crazy from her ex-husband!). And for that reason, if we are blessed with a daughter some day, she will carry on the legacy of my Grammie with her name.
It's classic, beautiful, not too common and I LOVE IT! We still have not decided on a middle name. This topic of conversation even came up at dinner last night with no resolution. Since she will have one family name (which I'm very insistent upon with our children), I don't mind if we just pick something we like. We will probably use Matt's middle name, Lindsey, which is much prettier for a girl than a boy! There is also Matt's mom's middle name, Erin, that we like. I also like Faith, just because. But Faith would break my "odd number of syllables" rule, so I don't know if I could. We'll cross that bridge someday, I hope!
For a boy's name, we are still somewhat undecided.
I had it all worked out when it was just me (you forget that you have to agree with someone else as a teenager). My Papaw was my-most-favorite-very-special-person. He was the man who stepped up to be my father, when my own was nowhere to be found. He was the first "love" of my life really. Words cannot express how special this man was to me, and he was taken from me much too soon. I was 14 when he died from bone cancer. I always thought I would name my son for him, and still might. ;) My Papaw's name was J.T. He, like Adair's grandfather, named himself. It was common back then for people just to name their boys initials only, which is what my great-grandparents did. When Papaw went to register for the draft for WWII, they asked him his name. He told them J.T. was his name. They insisted that those were initials, not a name, and asked him what they stood for. So he told them the first thing he could think of, James Thomas. My cousin Jennifer, whose father's name is also Thomas, used that for her son's middle name. I always thought I would use James with Grammie's maiden name, Durham. But we can't have ALL the names come from my family. :)
Right after we got married, I fell IN LOVE with a boy's name. It's not a family name. It has no particular meaning for us, other than I love old Hebrew boy names from the Old Testament. Think about it, Elijah, Ephraim, Abraham, Asher, Canaan (I still love this one, and is in contention for a second boy's name as far as I'm concerned), Jacob, Caleb, Matthias (which I think is an awesome take on Matt's name, Matthew), Joshua, and the list goes on. It took Matt a while to come around to the name I fell in love with, but he loves it too now. If we are blessed with a son, his name will be
Like Clara, it's traditional yet not too common. Besides, Levi Black sounds like a jazz musician's name to me. Since our family is full of engineers who play the trumpet and are not particularly athletic, I think it fits. :) As for his first or middle name (he will be called Levi either way), that is still up for debate. Matt is sold on a VERY non-traditional first name, which breaks my rule of at least one family name. However it would give him the same initials as Matt (MLB), which he feels is sufficient for the family name tradition. It's a name that I kind of like, but it will get strong reactions either positive or (but mostly) negative from our family and friends. Matt wants to name our son Memphis Levi Black.
Being a child that chose to go by her middle name, I know full well that our child may choose to do the same thing. I want to LOVE both names that we give our children. I also want to ensure that we follow rule #4, which I'm not sure Memphis does. The only Memphis I've ever heard of is Memphis Raines from "Gone in 60 Seconds" and he's a car thief. This is not a legacy I want to pass to our child. But remember, parents have to AGREE on a name, and I have to let Matt have an opinion, right? So I'll save my veto for when I'm actually pregnant. ;)
Other family names in the running to be paired with Levi, as a first or middle name, include: James (after my Papaw, Matt's grandmother's brother and Matt's aunt Jamie), Victor (Matt's GP and uncle), William (Matt's stepdad), Wesley (Matt's cousin, MDH has not signed off on it's candidacy but I love the name and this is my blog!), and Mitchell (Matt's uncle, who has two sons that may want to use the name so we will probably defer this one, but it's a great name).
So there you have it! Still much to be negotiated when the time finally arrives, but the names that we will call our children are pretty much set. Now if Clara or Levi happen to have a sibling of the same sex, Lord help us because we have no idea!