It’s probably the hardest thing anybody’s ever done. A name is forever. Sometimes it’s modified with marriage, but mostly, whomever (or whatever) you gave it to is stuck with it.
It’s really an imposition.
I would never have chosen my name for me, and I don’t think any of us are happy with the names our parents chose for us. Some of our parents’ methods were a little odd, and we all have that story of how and why we have our particular monikers. We take care not to repeat that process with our own children, lest they grow up resenting us for it.
I think they will anyway, because no matter how we chose it, the choice will have always been ours. In rebellion, they might choose nicknames we just can’t stand.
My story: Some random woman that nobody knew was getting married and her picture was in the Sunday paper. My mom liked the bride’s name. So she gave it to me.
Oldest was named after my grandmother. She was a lovely woman, but the name was an old one and didn’t quite fit the tiny little baby I was about to have. My friends told me I shouldn’t saddle her with an ‘old lady’ name. I didn’t listen. I did give her a cute middle name to go with it, though, and while she carries them both well, it’s by her middle name that she is most commonly recognized. And she loved my grandmother dearly, so I think now that she’s an adult, she sort of appreciates having it.
Youngest was going to be named after her dad, regardless. I feminized it with spelling and refused to put the “Little” in front of it like folks in my area tend to do. Instead, I called her by both first and middle together. That worked fine until she got in school. People who knew her in that setting only used her first name, and, according to her, they were the only ones allowed to. Family had to use both names. She said it sounded weird when we only used her first name at home. When the oldest grandbaby couldn’t quite pronounce Youngest’s name, and shortened the first name down to only the first syllable, it stuck. Now we all call her by that first syllable.
Husband was named after his dad, except that while they both had the same first name, they each went by their different middle names. I think it suited them both well. Somewhere along the stage of early adulthood, Husband incorporated a grandfather clause: everyone who knew him by his middle name could continue to use it, but everyone to whom he was introduced from that point forward had to use his first name. He said it sounded more authoritative, more adult, and maybe more deserving of respect.
The youngest grandbaby couldn’t say ‘grandpa’; it always came out “d-pa”. I’ll bet you can guess what we all call Husband now.
Whatever the method employed by those with naming power, care should be taken so as to ensure satisfaction. Not just satisfaction for the person wielding the naming authority, but also for the person or thing upon whom it’s being imposed. And, in this geographical area, if the name you choose is too long or too complicated, it is guaranteed to be shortened for convenience. Laziness is the origin of Bubba, Hoss, Bull, Skeeter, Junior, and other such nicknames.
Naming Oldest’s dog D’Ogee was a form of natural selection. Her oldest was trying to spell ‘dog’ and she kept pronouncing the letters as though they were all syllables of one word. It later became ‘Ogee’ for short.
When we rescued our cat from the shelter, we spent an entire day choosing a name for her. It took us through several restaurant napkins, notepaper sheets, and arguments before we settled on one to which we could all agree.
I think Abigail likes it though. She still sits on my lap when she wants to snuggle, and she doesn’t mind being called Abbey, Abidose, or Babygail.
At least I don’t think so.