What is in a Name?

8 05 2007

I remember when my first Daughter was born, the inevitable topic of picking a name came up. I had never thought much of this prior to my own encounter as most people still pick names that are so common. Joe, Mike, John…how many people do you know with these names? Are you one of them? I don’t mean to offend, but if everyone is unique, it is getting more and more difficult to have a unique name given that there are more than 6 billion people on Earth.

I remember back when I was starting my first day of second grade. My mom was walking me to class, and she presented me, a 6 year old, with a life changing option: “Which name do you want to go by this year?”. I had gone by an anglicized version of my middle name, Roberto, for the first couple years of school. Why my mom asked me this, I’m not sure.  So, after a quick thought, I said, “Let’s use my first name”.  And so it has been ever since. I like to look back on this story as the reason I wanted my daughter(s) to have unique names. By

My goal in naming my daughter was to find a name that was not too feminine, but still appropriate, and most of all not very common. I quickly realized that this might have been too tall an order. After all, this was something I was giving to my child that would stay with her for the entirety of her life. All historical records referring to her would use this name. That’s far too much pressure to think about. So, I just tried to find something unique.

Her mother and I looked through book after book, website after website looking for something ethically appropriate in addition to unique. At least, it limited the scope of names at which we were looking. After a couple of weeks, I had found only 2 names which I thought would be good: Eliana, and Annabelle. The most common complaint I had about girl names is that they all ended with ‘a’. Think about how many girls you know, and their full names; the majority of them end in ‘a’. Yes, ‘Eliana’ ends in ‘a’, but it seemed appropriate. It just felt right.

By the time our second daughter was on her way, the task of choosing her name was a little easier, as I had a great name ready for her: Annabelle. It is such a beautiful name, but it is funny how it can be combined with her sisters name so that eventually I can refer to both of them with one call…

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