Thursday, November 29, 2012

What's in a name?

So DD2 turns 10 tomorrow.  My kids always like to hear stories about when they were little, or have you tell them thing about themselves - even more so around birthday time when they are particularly self involved (as only the young can so innocently be).  Today over oatmeal we had a fun conversation.

DD2: Did you like when dad picked out my name?
Me: Yes.  It was on our agreed upon list.  When we met you it seemed to fit.
DD2: What does {her name} mean?
Me:  'Cruel.' It means 'Cruel and bad mannered.'
DD2: No it doesn't.
Me: Yes, It does.
(and then I giggled over my bowl of oatmeal, which blew my cover.)
DD2: (huge smile) You're not funny.  What does it really mean?

I blanked.  I have no idea what her name means.
Because the second child gets the shaft.
I know that my first daughters name is Hebrew and means, "Grace" or "He (God) has favored me".  We were careful with her first and middle names that they were strong, sounded good with our last name, and that they looked good on a resume. I had always loved her name and since I was young I had wanted a little girl with that name.  Husband and I discussed this name and boy names at length with our first pregnancy. Naming our child was a responsibility we took very seriously.

DD2 was named over email correspondence.
What?? We were busy.

I emailed a list of names to Husband. He edited, added, and return emailed. Back and forth over several weeks when we had time. Seriously, I wish I had kept the thread, because there were comments from Husband like, "the girl that cuts my hair likes {name}" (so that name would go on the list) I would send things like, "My sister (the kindergarten teacher) said we shouldn't use {name} because there was a girl in her class one year called {name} and she always bit people and smelled bad" (and remove another name from the list).

Oh yes, such depth of meaning and careful consideration went in to picking her name. Looking back I'm surprised "Afterthought" never made it on to the list.

But when we went to the hospital to have her we had four name combinations that we really liked:
Catherine Grace (who we would call 'Cate')
Grace Elizabeth (Because DD1's name means "Grace", and so they would match)
Julia Catherine (thank you to girl who cuts Husband's hair, she liked this one)
Eleri Grace (yes, Eleri is NOT a common name - and no way was Husband ACTUALLY leaving the hospital with a daughter named Eleri... but it was so cute when said out loud with our first daughter's name that I wasn't removing it from the list.)

Also? It was Husband's turn to name the baby. I was the one who named our first daughter - I had picked out her first name and we went from there.  Husband got final decision on this baby.  I was totally OK with that, and liked the idea of meeting her first.  About 15 minutes after she was born he said, "I like the name {name} for her."  Which surprised me, because I thought he was favoring a different name on the list.  But I had to agree - the name he chose fit her.

Even if we had ZERO idea of what it meant.

That's right - we never stopped to look it up.  Which I didn't realize until this morning. 

So I grabbed my phone, found a baby name site on the internet, and looked up her name. She has a very pretty name, so I'm expecting to find something about beauty or strong moral character.

Me: (after reading the meaning) Uhhh... its Latin and..... well? I have good news and bad news.
DD2: Huh?
Me: According to the name finder it means, "Down-bearded youth."
DD2: What is that?
Me: I think it means that you may get your Italian great-great-grandmother's moustache, but if you do at least it will be very soft.
DD2: (blankly looking at me)
Me: Oh wait - right here it says, "Youthful."
DD2: Youthful?
Me: that means "young".
DD2: I know. 
Me: So, you got that going for you. Finish your breakfast.

What's in a name, then? 
I'm not sure. 
But when you look at my second daughter?  The one with the dark hair, fair skin that never tans, blue eyes, high cheekbones, and freckles?  The one with the sparkle of mischief in her eye that could only be because her 11th Great Grandfather on my mother's side was half Leprechaun?  Perhaps we should have listened more closely to DD1 when I asked her all those years ago...
Me: What should we name the new baby?
DD1: (then 2 years old) "Fionna." 
To which I replied: "No. That is WAAAYYY too Irish!"

Turns out?  Not so much. I just checked and Fionna means, "Fair, white, beautiful." 
Go figure.


elise said...

I love that story almost as much as I love the girl it's about.

Anonymous said...

Love this line best: I think it means that you may get your Italian great-great-grandmother's moustache, but if you do at least it will be very soft.

ROFL <3 Cheryl

tz said...

how know when I look at hannah our dog i think we should have called HER fiona :D I did the meaning thing with the boys, their middle names are michael and gabriel both mean word of God...I love that.