What’s in a name? A lot if you have a name like Harriett Rhoda Fox. Ms. Fox was an elementary school classmate of my father’s, and he still remembers her name with a chuckle. How many times do you think someone asked her: “Does the fox mind?” “Where do you get a saddle for a fox?” “Do you need a license to ride a fox?”
Choosing a baby name is as painful as pulling teeth – actually, more painful because you have to do it without the benefit of laughing gas or Novocaine. There are far too many things to consider. Do you name after a relative? If so, which one? Do you choose a unique name, or something classic? What nicknames go with a given name? What will your child’s initials be? Do the initials spell something embarrassing?
Once you’ve picked a name, you may have to decide whether or not to use the full version of the name, or just the nickname. Just using the nickname has a whole different set of pitfalls – just ask my dad, Bill, who has diplomas issued to “William,” despite the fact that his name is just “Bill.”
Finally, you have to decide whether to create your own unique spelling, or stick with the traditional spelling.
(Thankfully, we already knew that we would use traditional spellings, rather than something more unique. We both know what it is like to go through life with a uniquely spelled name (try finding a souvenir license plate with Dianna (spelled with two “Ns”) or Rahn.)
Oh, and don’t even get me started on the worries over what might happen in the future to affect how people view a name (I suffered through the release of Michael Jackson’s song Dirty Diana when I was in middle school).
Rahn picked Isaac for our oldest. I was not sold at first – to me, it sounded a little old-fashioned. But, it has grown on me… and it really suits him. However, we’ve been a bit dismayed to find that it is now one of those names that is trending. I’m not sure why that bothers me, but I really liked that it was both traditional and unique at the same time.
I picked Max, and that is where my one naming regret comes in. No, I don’t regret picking the most common dog name as my son’s first name – after all, people love their dogs.
I regret that his name is just Max – not Maxwell, Maximilian or Maximus. Why, you ask, would we do that after knowing what my own father experienced as a “Bill” and not a “William?” Honestly, I have no idea. Even I am tempted to call him Maxwell at times… and I, of all people, should know what his name is!
All of that thought, stress and strife, and I still have regrets. What about you? Do you have regrets over the name you chose for your little one? Do you wish your parents had chosen a different name for you?
(Oh, and in case you are wondering, no one can remember why they decided to spell Rahn’s name the way they did (it’s just Ron spelled funny). The best answer, of the many we’ve heard, is that it was the sixties, and everyone was spelling things funny.)