What’s in a Name?
In elementary school my teacher would read aloud to the class everyday. Story time was great except when she read Taffy and Melissa Molasses. I slouched at my desk, my cheeks turning strawberry colored. Why? Because all through recess the kids, including my friends, teased me: “Melissa Molasses! Here comes Melissa Molasses! Hey Melissa, do you like to eat molasses?” Sure, it’s juvenile and stupid now but at the time it was so embarrassing.
When we’re mothers-to-be we want to choose a name that will hopefully spare our child unnecessary teasing. With my first baby I considered lots of names – one of them was Maizy . Everyone was quick to point out it rhymed with crazy and lazy. I could imagine those playground chants and I scratched Maizy off the list. At the time a unique name was really important to me and eventually Madison was chosen. In 1996 no one I knew had ever heard of it. (Some people actually asked me if I got it from the movie Splash. Um, no. I wouldn’t name my kid after a mermaid in a 1980s flick.) It did concern me the name Madison might be too unique but I couldn’t have been more wrong. About that same year it became one of the most popular girls names and my daughter has so many friends with her same name, and a ton of Haleys too, that I’ve joked she should have a “Madison and Haley only party” just to see how many people show up. Still, despite its commonality I can’t imagine her by any other name.
With our son Lucas and I wanted to choose a name that wouldn’t hold him back. It would have to look good on the nameplate to an executive suite, on a baseball uniform, or on the ballot for President of the United States. We think Hudson fits that bill and we’re glad our family agreed – we had a list of our top four choices and let everyone vote on their favorite. Hudson won by a landslide.
Now with our third child on the way we will play the name game one final time. Originally Lucas hadn’t wanted to find out if we were having a boy or girl. I’m glad that ultrasounds are so clear these days that it was pretty obvious it’s a girl. Yes, the suspense was killing me. Yes, I wanted to know if I should buy pink or blue onesies. But I also wanted to concentrate only on names for one sex or the other.
I realize that no matter what name we choose there will be teasing (it’s a part of growing up) and they will dislike it at some point, but hopefully not permanently. I have friends who only go by their middle names – one dumped his first name, Eric, in grade school because the sound of it reminded him of “earache.” A woman I know reversed a couple of consonants in her name to go from Sidney to Sindey. I even know a guy who legally changed his name, dumpling his surname to keep just his first and middle name.
For now, Lucas and I are still thumbing through baby books. I’m open to anyone’s suggestions… especially to anyone who can persuade my husband that “Kristen” is pretty cool.