Naming a kid has got to be one of the hardest decisions we make as parents. We feel like it carries so much weight in who they become, but does it? Does the fact that there were a million Jennifers in my class make any one of them any less independent of the others? No. I liked some and didn’t like others. Some are very successful and some are… well, fun to watch on Face Book. But how does it feel to be a Jennifer? Being a Willow, I never had that experience. My name was always the only one. Having my last initial on my paper or desk was never necessary because there wasn’t a Willow B and a Willow K along with me, Willow M. However, I bet Jennifers never got “what? That’s your name? I’m sorry, I meant your first name.” Or had to show their license to prove that yes, my parents actually named me that. Or had to explain where the name came from (which is a totally different story depending on who you ask. My mom says it’s from Isaiah 44:3-4 “For I will pour my water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessings upon thine offspring: and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the watercourses.” My dad just says they were hippies. It’s somewhere in between those stories.)
So as Seth and I are talking through names for the twins (which is going HORRIBLY, thanks for asking) I Googled “popular baby names 2013” and sure enough, some of the names we love are top 5. Does that automatically disqualify them? I don’t know. That’s what I can’t decide. We didn’t take them from the list, but we can’t un-know that they’re there. And doesn’t it matter?
When we were in college, one of my best friends Jessi would always jump ahead and introduce herself first, even if the person asked my name. She’d say “I’m Jessi. Now you can ask her name and then talk about it.” She said if they started with my name, they never even got to her. Or when they did, it wasn’t as memorable.
So how do we know if our names, Willow or Jennifer or Jessi, really defined who we became? And do people really get mad at their parents because of the name they chose (how does Apple really feel about Gwen? And in 10 years??)? Is the meaning behind it more important than the actual name? Or does that not even matter if it’s so generic nobody ever asks? But do we want our kids to have to explain their names every time they meet someone new? Wouldn’t it be nice to be Jennifer some time? Just learn my name and move on to get to know me?
A lot of people have told me that I’m very much “a Willow.” I never know what that means or what to take from that. My grandma used to say I would weep like a willow. Not in a nice way. She didn’t say a lot of nice things, but that’s a different post. Or I get the reference to the movie Willow, which isn’t always a positive thing. Or Grandmother Willow (from Pocahontas I think?). People feel the need to comment one way or another. Even when they say “I’ve met another Willow!” I don’t really know how to react to that. I usually just smile uncomfortably and try to steer the conversation away from it all. Even when they’re nice about it and compliment the name, I feel weird saying thank you because I didn’t name me that.
So this wasn’t supposed to be a post about my name, but I guess that’s the beauty of this whole blog thing. I can start in one spot and end in another. But that doesn’t really help the task at hand- choosing the fate of not only one child but TWO! And sooner than later. They not only have to have meaning, but have to sound good with our last name which can be a feat as anything too “original” will sound like a golf course or bed & breakfast. But it needs some sustenance as our last name is just one syllable. And it needs to sound good with Jackson, along with sounding good with the other name both as “the twins” and as “the kids.” I’m not one of those people who says “I’m having the baby I get the final say”- I do really want Seth to be as on board as I am. However, it’s a bit of a tricky process as I suggest names and his response it jibbersih. Seriously- earlier: me: “How about Maeve?” Seth: “How about bloobity-blogger-blan?”
Wish us luck. Or something stronger.
*No Jennifers were harmed in the writing of this post. I hope.