What’s in a name?

This afternoon, as I spent a lot of mindless hours stuck to my leather office chair stuffing envelopes, I was thinking about names. Names that I like, names that might suit a child of our making, names that go and don’t go with the surname of this family unit of ours.

This contemplation of naming lead me to thinking more about the process than any name in particular. I thought of the people I know, some of them on the address labels to the envelopes in front of me, some friends, family, movie stars, etc. I wondered how all these names were chosen, how a parent knows that a name will fit a whole life, a personality that doesn’t even emerge until well after the name is firmly established in the family vocabulary.

My sister is Angela. I wonder if it’s the name that suits her or if she suits the name. It’s like the chicken and the egg conundrum. Will what we name our child impact who he or she becomes? For example, if we chose the name Lola for a girl, is she doomed to spend her young adulthood with dollar bills in her g-string? Or, when we meet this tiny little human currently growing and bouncing around my womb, will we just know the right name? Will I get a better sense of this little person once I start to feel the movement inside me?

I don’t want a very common name for our child. I already have one of those. But I also don’t want to go too wild with it either, because that can be worse. I want a name that means something, but I don’t know where to find that meaning. It’s a lot of pressure to name a baby, this little unwritten life. The name is the beginning of the real story. All this, right now, what I’m doing here, this is just a prologue.


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