**Linking up with MamaKat today: 5.) Share how you came up with your kids names!**
When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, the first thing we did was pick names. For whatever reason during those 14 weeks, I was convinced we were having a girl and focused mostly on those names. With Matt and I both being teachers, picking out a name was near impossible.
Natalie? Nope, she was the slutty, bitchy girl in my 6th period Geometry class.
Mark? Nope, he was the crazy one in 4th period who was banished from the lunch room.
Erika? Nope, she drove me absolutely nuts for 2 years in a row.
Not to mention that my husband must have been one hell of a nickname-caller when he was young because he can come up with a nickname for EVERYONE! If you’re having a baby soon, you should run the name past him to see if he can come up with anything. We really had a difficult time coming up with something we both liked, that didn’t have a nasty nickname or didn’t remind us of some jerk in class.
But then you’d think of the kids that absolutely stole your heart.
Adam? He was that super sweet kid in 7th period. You hope your kids turn out half as good as him.
Lizzie? The super smart and beautiful girl in 3rd period who you adored.
You’d never met a Sarah you didn’t like or a Matt that drove you crazy. But still a name for the rest of their lives? That’s a huge task.
We came up with a girl’s name. We had a boys’ name too. Then I had a miscarriage and I felt like those names died too.
When we finally were pregnant again, I was much more cautious even though by week 6 I already had names and personalities and sports they would play all picked out. You can’t help yourself, right? We tossed around so many names before finally deciding on Olivia. We wanted something unique but not weird. (In 2000, Olivia was still unique. Now they’re filling at least 2 seats per classroom.) Something timeless that would sound good as a child and a grown-up. I would always practice their names pretending they were a news anchor to see if it flowed and sounded right. “This is Olivia Townsend, channel 13 news.” Yep, sounds good. I would also imagine them being inaugurated as president of the United States. “President Olivia Townsend!” Yep, that sounded good too. Then, of course, you have to go look it up and see what it means. Olivia means peace. Sounds good to me.
And then you realize you need a middle name! I wanted to name her after my wonderful mother, of course. Her first name is not a good middle name so I was going to go with her middle name, Marie. But I really loved Jane. For no reason at all. I just liked the way it rolled off my tongue. I could imagine shouting “Olivia Jane!” when she got into trouble just fine. But I left it up to my Mom. She picked Jane. So Olivia Jane it was. It fits her perfectly…from the meaning of peace all the way down to the fact that it sounds perfect when I’m yelling.
Four months later, when we found out we were pregnant again, we were back at square one. We picked out a girls’ name and still had our first choice for a boy’s name. Matt’s family has a long tradition of the first-born son being named Charles. Did I ever mention that it drives me nuts when someone is named something other than what people call them? That’s a lifelong peeve of mine. And then I marry into a family where that’s the tradition. I didn’t like Chuck or Chuckie, Charles was too formal and Matt had a psycho roommate called Charlie. Chase was a goofball in my class, Chaz sounded too sleazy. It was onto the middle name that would sound good as a first name but also as a middle name. Oye. We went round and round and finally Matt came up with Gabriel. It was music to my ears. Neither of us had any Gabes in class and the only one I ever knew was a sweet boy in my elementary school. There weren’t any horrible nicknames that Matt could come up with. We were set. I actually fell in love with the tradition of Charles as well. Gabe would be named after 8 grandfathers. 8! He would have the same name as his Dad and his Grandpa. There’s something really special about that.
Three years later, when it was time to pick again, we had a little bit of a harder time. We had so much freedom this time! We already had a girl, had a boy and anything was up for grabs. I liked Henry for a boy but got vetoed in a major way by Matt. I loved Sawyer or Maya for a girl. We settled on Maya Marie if it was a girl. For a boy we went round and round between Mitchell and Matthew before we decided that we both really loved the name Matthew. I had never met one I didn’t like. And he would also be named after his father. Once we came back to it over and over again, it was a perfect fit. The best part? Now in a time of Cadens and Jacks and Evans and Kingstons and Holdens, Matthew is unique and retro. My Matthew is the only one in his grade. It fits him perfectly. His middle name, unfortunately, drives me crazy. I named him after my former stepfather who I loved with all my heart and thought was a wonderful man but turned out to be a horrid person. Matthew is too young to remember so we tell him his middle name is after our dear friend, David. That works, right? I’ve thought about changing it…but it costs too much money and I would still remember that I had to change it because of that anyway. So it is what it is.
Olivia Jane for president. Charles Gabriel reporting. Matthew David signing off for the evening.
We did good, didn’t we?