You've probably picked up on the fact that I'm obsessed with names. I could tell you the full name of just about anyone I've ever met - and often ask people what their middle names are, just out of curiosity. I'm entranced by monograms and captivated by the stories behind old family names.
I was the girl who dreamed of naming, not necessarily having, a baby. (It took a while before I realized the two go hand in hand. It'd be a rare mom who would allow you only to name her child.)
I think it's because, growing up, I didn't love my name. (Cue Anne of Green Gables references. I never asked to be called Cordelia, but you get the idea.) Anne is my middle name; my first name is a family name that is unusual and easily mispronounced.
The first day of classes, from kindergarten to grad school, my palms would get sweaty when the teacher got to the "S" portion of the roll. When I saw a puzzled expression, I'd call out, "I go by Anne! Just call me Anne!"
Additionally, my whole family (of origin) has unusual name quirks. Three of the four of us go by our middle names. My brother, the sole "first namer," has four names. Three are last names; all are family names. Welcome to the South, my friends.
Most everyone I knew growing up was named after someone - a beloved aunt, their mom's favorite poet, even a Dynasty character. Few parents pull their children's names from thin air.
When it came to naming our Mac, I knew early on that I wanted to incorporate family names with a lot of meaning to us. (If your last name is Smith, you know the importance of standing out a little in the first name department. Take it from "Anne Smith #8" at my salon.)
Mac is named after several members of our families, one of whom was also called "Mac Smith." It means everything that we could honor so many with one sweet little baby's name.
Reading the top name trends of 2010, though, I am a touch disheartened that Macky's first name is number three on the list. (Yes, I did what I said I'd never do and gave my son a first name he doesn't use. Don't hate me, future Mac!)
I suppose I should take it as a compliment that there are so many baby Jacksons out there, but we named him Jackson McNeal for a reason. Mac's names each have meaning and come directly from someone our families knew and loved. (The first Mac Smith skipped over Jackson, abbreviated his middle name and went by Mac too, future Macky. You're in good company!)
Though he was born in 2009, not 2010, I hate thinking that Mac's birth certificate is one of ten thousand other Jacksons!
I won't say much else about names, though I'll wax poetic for hours with friends in an adult version of the treasured seventh grade "let's name our invisible children" game.
I have lots (and lots) of "rules" and opinions about naming a child well and with tremendous thought. Given my name history, I feel I deserve such opinions!
That said, names are intensely personal and I wouldn't want to step on anyone's toes - or their top choices. Pick an old family name, find inspiration in classic literature, choose a favorite Biblical name, put lovely-sounding syllables together, do what makes you happy - but realize names last forever.
Can I please urge you, if you're going to name your child after a politician, Olympian or television figure, as the article indicates more people are doing, to choose extra wisely? Do you really want your baby to spend his life explaining why he's named Apollo Piper Chuck Bass Finn Puckerman Smith long after everyone has forgotten who most of those namesakes ever were? Okay, then.
Read the top names of 2010. How many of these babies have you bought presents for this year?
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