Meanwhile, while I run around today like a chicken with its head cut off (much like the poor unfortunate birds that I just deboned. . . ), I'm going to cheat and copy and paste a guest post by Sister Dear :-D. No, sorry, Lydia, it's not poetry. I'm still coaxing her to compose some new pieces. This was a random-thought-process-turned-blog-post from last week. I meant to post it yesterday, but I didn't get around to it. Here 'tis:
Names are fascinating. I like names that have beauty, meaning, or history. Names are important to me, and I'm not really sure why.
Susan and I had a great time playing a game of Life recently with Paul and Ashley, and I happily got 5 kids throughout the course of the game! (Susan was a bit jealous, as she only got 1.) I love getting kids because I get to give them names! It's like taking the little blue and pink pegs that are meaningless objects and suddenly giving them each character and life.
I remember a fairly vivid dream that I had a couple years ago in which I realized I was pregnant. I remember this overwhelming feeling of utter awe that filled me as I realized that I was carrying a little human inside of me. But what overtook my mind the most was the question of "What am I going to name him?" I felt like the name that I picked would somehow shape the being inside of me for good or for bad, like I was holding his future in the decision of one little word.
When we were younger, Susan and I made up several lists on several different occasions of names that we liked or might want to name our kids one day. When we met Jessie and her family recently for a brief lunch, I overheard some of a conversation that Susan, Jessie, and her sister Katie were having involving names. Apparently Jessie and Katie have both made lists of names that they like and would consider for future kids' names too, but Susan and I were surprised to hear that they could really only think of about half a dozen that they really liked!
When Susan and I used to make lists of all the possible names we would name our kids, we could get some pretty long lists going, adding many names of family, friends, or characters in the Bible. And yes, our family has even gone a little overboard and made up a list of fun math names that Susan could use for her hypothetical kids, even thinking of them in alphabetical order, like in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, only they would be math names, not Bible names. Let's see, I think we had something like Algebra (Al for short), Calculus (Cal), Denominator (Denny), Fraction (Fran), Hypothesis, Integral.... I don't remember all of them, but we had a bit too much fun! :-)
While I'm rambling about names, I have to mention Anne. I love Anne of Green Gables. Who doesn't? :-) Anne also saw more to a name than just what is on the surface. I love the part of the beginning of the book where she's answering questions that Marilla poses to her just after her first arrival. Here's an excerpt of the conversation as she's giving some of her background to Marilla.
"My father's name was Walter Shirley, and he was a teacher in the Bolingbroke High School. My mother's name was Bertha Shirley. Aren't Walter and Bertha lovely names? I'm so glad my parents had nice names. It would be a real disgrace to have a father named--well, say Jedediah, wouldn't it?"
"I guess it doesn't matter what a person's name is as long as he behaves himself," said Marilla, feeling herself called upon to inculcate a good and useful moral.
"Well, I don't know." Anne looked thoughtful. "I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose would be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage. I suppose my father could have been a good man even if he had been called Jedediah; but I'm sure it would have been a cross."
For the most part, I think I'll have to respectfully disagree with Anne. ;-) I like the name Anne, although I do, like she does, prefer the 'e' on the end, and then I'm also not particularly fond of Walter or Bertha, although I do like the name Walter pretty well – the name grew on me a lot after reading Rainbow Valley. Isn’t it funny how our likes and dislikes of name can be so influenced (at least for me) by the people we know bearing those names?
But then isn't it interesting thinking about if a rose would smell as sweet if it were named a thistle or a skunk cabbage? Of course, scientifically, yes it would, but really, a rose wouldn't be a rose if it were called a skunk cabbage. I just can't picture a table being beautiful adorned with a vase of skunk cabbages, a lover giving his sweetheart a dozen thistles, or a bride walking down the aisle in all her beauty holding... skunk cabbages. Kind of spoils the picture, just in changing the name.
We know a family who would typically wait a few days or even weeks after the birth of their baby before finally naming their child. In some ways I could see myself doing that if I ever had a child. I'm not always very good at decision making, and since I think names are such important decisions, I might have a really hard time making up my mind! I also might want to wait until the birth to see if a name fits the baby right.
But then on the other hand, I could see the name being one of the first decisions I make, even within the first week after I found out I was pregnant! Especially if it was a boy, I think I would have an easier time since I especially like the names Enoch and Stephen, from the characters in the Bible, and it would be really fun to have a son named Samuel.
And yes, of course, there's that detail that I can just see my mom thinking of as she reads this - if I have a child then it wouldn't be just me deciding the name, and I'd have to let my husband have a say! ;-) I can't imagine what would happen if I actually ever got married and my husband and I disagreed on names! I would have a hard time submitting in that. I guess it's best that I don't plan on getting married just in case my husband actually really liked names like Quinton, Bertha, Nimrod, Fred, etc. (I hope no one gets offended by any preferences I mention in this post!). I wonder if anyone has ever gotten divorced over differences in preferences for the baby's name, or if a poor baby has ever been called two different names his whole life because the parents disagreed....
I can't imagine doing what my mother dear did. She and Daddy Dear agreed that if I was a boy, she would name me, and if I was a girl, he would name me. Well, I was a girl obviously, and Daddy named me Hannah, but my mom actually didn't really like that name! I couldn't stand naming my precious little baby a name I didn't like. Just for the record, my mom quickly grew to like the name. :-)
A very good friend of ours, Erika, has had the somewhat cruel idea of giving her child a very odd spelling for his name - very odd, like, the name would be spelled F-r-e-d, but it would be pronounced just like the name Bob. Hehe, that would be funny, but so confusing!! Poor little kid!
So, after all the thrill I get with names and picking out good, meaningful names, isn’t it sad that I don’t plan on ever getting married and having my own kids to name?!?! I can only hope that Susan will get married and allow me to name one of her kids.
Or maybe I can start a name consultant business! For families that are having a hard time naming their kids, they can just give me a ring and I’ll help them out! You can bet you’d see a lot more Enochs walking around than you’ve ever seen before. ;-) Well, even if I don’t end up being a name consultant, at least I can still name my balls.
Yes, I name my sports balls. It gives them character! There’s Joshua the football, Victor the soccer ball, Gimli the soccer ball, Patrick Stan Butalbladder(sp?) the soccer ball (don’t ask), Faithful the volleyball, and Rocky the Frisbee, and I think that’s it. Sadly all these old friends must sit in storage and not be used due to my injuries. :’-( It makes me so sad to think of them all lonely!
Aack, and this post is getting way too long. If you’ve made it this long, you deserve a congratulations or something! I had a lot more plans for this post, especially having to do with going into names in the Bible and how much significance names used to have. I’ve been going to a Spanish Bible study on Wednesday nights about los nombres de Dios (the names of God) that has been really fascinating! I really liked the name we studied this past Wednesday especially, which was found only once in the Bible, and that was when Hagar was pregnant with Ishmael and running away from Sarai and God appears to her to tell her to go back. Hagar calls God in Hebrew “El Roi”, literally “the One Who sees”.
Well, thank you for taking this visit into Hannah’s mind. And remember – if you’re ever in need of naming advice, I’m only a phone call (or e-mail) away! ;-)
And what do you all think – What’s in a name?