what’s in a name?

The number two question us soon to be twice over parents are getting these days—right behind “how are you (is Sarah) feeling?”—is “do you have a name yet?” (or some variation thereof). Understandably so as beyond whether it’s a boy or a girl, it’s really the only way for other folks to relate to your unborn baby, be that in a positive or negative way. Yes, it’s sad to think that anyone would ever feel negatively about what we’ve decided to name our child, but people in general are judgmental (I damn sure am) and besides that,  you know that someone out there had a bad experience at some point in life with someone with that name. Hence the ever popular decision to keep the name a secret until the baby is born and it’s an official decree on that legal certificate. We considered doing that with Norah and were able to keep it a secret for a short period, but eventually we’ll just tell our parents turned into we’ll just tell our families and then just our close friends and at some point we just said screw it and told anyone that asked. We were so sure about the name Norah that no reaction could have swayed us, plus who doesn’t like the name Norah? It’s plum fantastic.

This time around we had a bit more difficulty with the name selection. That’s not to say that we didn’t have oodles of names that we liked, but it took us longer to finally decide on the one. People of course had been asking about the name(s) before we even knew it was a boy, but we refrained from sharing our lists because people are more likely to show their true reactions to options. If you tell someone I am naming my kid Fred, even if they think it’s a terrible name they’ll work to hide that because it’s a done deal and no sense in making the parents feel bad. But if you tell them I’m considering Fred, Bertram, Alfie and Stryker, it’s amazing how quickly some folks will jump right into a story about how an Alfie once stole their bike or Fred is the name of their alcoholic uncle.  None of those names were on our list, by the way.

We had maybe ten or so names on our list before finding out it was a boy, but as soon as we did, that dropped to about four. Then we spent a couple weeks adding and subtracting names until we got down to what we thought were the final two. We went back and forth on these two names, discussing everything from meaning to popularity to what kind of personality we thought they implied (because clearly whatever you name your kid is going to define who they are as a person. not.). We started leaning toward one of the two, we were almost certain it was going to be that, but there was something stopping us, something that we couldn’t pinpoint that was keeping either of us from giving it the final, 100% thumbs up. Then we were driving back from brunch with my family and discussing what middle name would work with this first name. I pulled up a list of potential middle names on my iPhone and among such delights as Digby, Jensen and Beckett, there it was. “I really like this one,” Pete said. “Me too!” I exclaimed. And almost instantly we agreed that it wasn’t a middle name. It was the name. We immediately cast aside the name that we thought was our final choice and even started pointing out what was wrong with it. In a way it was this big relief, like we both somehow knew in the back of our minds that our former choice just wasn’t right, but we hadn’t found something else so we thought that had to be it. We were settling, but no longer!

Ladies and gentlemen of the readership, I’d like to introduce you (well, you know) to Crosby Liam Elder.

Elderland out. XO.


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