What’s in a name?

I was recently sent a link to this research project looking at the meanings and significance of family name choices in Australia.  I love social research, especially qualitative stuff like this that looks closely at particular issues and uncovers rich social meanings.  I will always say yes to doing a survey, focus group or interview if asked.  I love that my views go to make up the larger body of knowledge about what people think (and do) about stuff.

Unfortunately this particular research instrument wasn’t piloted very well because it’s almost impossible to answer if you are a single parent by choice or you were single at the time your child’s name decisions were being made.  The questions are worded in such a heteronormative couple-centric way that I fear the results will be very skewed.  There also isn’t a question at the end which allows you to feed this information back to the researchers, which is a shame.  Of course, pushy people like me will always find a way to give feedback, and there’s contact information on the website.  But still.

But doing the survey reminded me of how happy I was and am that I didn’t have to please anyone except myself when it came to choosing TT’s names.  I love her names passionately and without reservation and I feel so strongly that they suit her in every way.  Her first name is quite different to what I had in mind but once I’d settled on it, I was settled on it.  Her first name came to me not long after I found out I was having a girl after a mid-pregnancy ultrasound.  It was one I’d never considered ever before but as soon as I ran it around my mouth I knew it was right.  I even remember what I was doing and where I was when it came to me.  I did allow for the possibility that her name wouldn’t feel right after she arrived, and I did have some ideas as backup.  But as soon as I saw her I knew she was TT.  I didn’t settle on the final choice and order of her middle names until the morning of her birth.

I feel like the combination is right:  her very own first name which is unique on both sides of our very large extended family and which I like for its euphonic qualities as well as for the people in history who have also shared that name.  Her middle names are family names that I love dearly and which belong to people I love dearly.  And all of them go perfectly perfect with our rather ostentatious family name :)

If I were naming another child I have both a boy and girl first name that I’d like to use.  Middle names are a bit trickier.  I have a trifecta of beautiful family names for a girl but they are almost identical (by a strange coincidence) and rhyme in a very un-melodic way.  It would be like calling a child Gladys Cat Sat Hat Grandname.  Only not so much fun.  More like someone didn’t say the names out loud before they chose them.

What’s in a name for you?

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