Friday, January 24, 2014

What's in a Name?

I recall a former bishop who has six children – each given a name or names after people that this bishop and his wife had crossed paths with.  I had actually met the two men whom their youngest had been named after.  I was just a youth when one of the men passed, but I’m actually good friends with the man who is living.  What an honor the bishop’s youngest should feel to share a name with such a marvelous man, as I’m certain each individual involved with the lives of their family.

My mom had been given one of those feminized masculine names (e.g. Josephine, Roberta, Patricia, Geraldine, Georgette . . .), which she didn’t particularly care for. It was three syllables long and as she learned to write was too long of a name to fit on the top line of any school paper.

It wasn’t until high school when she decided to go by her unisex nickname (e.g. Joey for Josephine, Bobby for Roberta, Pat for Patricia, etc.) but still did not care for the name. 

After Corey had finished his mission, my mom went to Europe to tour with him before he returned back to the states.  Corey introduced her to several people he had served with.  One was a man whose wife was expecting a child.  They wanted to name the baby after Corey (who’s given name could be feminized quite easily) but said that if they were to have a girl that they would name the baby after my mom.  I think she may have been flattered in a way, but hoped the couple would have a boy, as she was not fond of her name – though she did like the way her name was pronounced by the expecting father.  They ended up giving birth to a baby girl whom they named after my mother.

There are several names now adays that one may associate with being feminine or being masculine that eventually end up on the unisex list.  We would have named Jenna after my father had she been a boy but Roland wouldn’t go for the name for a girl – nor did I know how to feminize it though I had a few suggestions – nothing really felt right.

I really did like the name Jenna – but that’s the only thought that was put into it.  I named her that because I liked the name.  That was it.  I did give her my maiden name as a middle name.  This I did for three reasons:

1)             I could honor my dad with his last name and have a piece of me in there as well
2)             If something should ever happen to me and Roland, it was decided that my family would continue raising Jenna (and the boys as needed) and I wanted her to have the name for family connection
3)              My maiden name isn’t Cannon.  It’s less common (about the 975th most common name) while Roland’s last name is very common (65th most common at the time) and to avoid financial problems and “proof of identity” that may occur later on, I gave her an identity that should separate her from pretty much everybody else on the planet.

Had I thought about it, I may have named her after Roland’s late wife.  But it really didn’t even occur to me until my sister Kayla was pregnant with her first child.

Through inspiration, Kayla had already suggested to Bill that they should name their first daughter after his late wife.  And thus Anna was named after Annaleigh.  Had she been a boy there was a name reserved that has become tradition for Bill’s side of the first name for I don’t know how many generations. But the boy would go by whatever middle name his parents gave him.  Thus two years later the names were given to my (currently) youngest nephew.  The name he goes by is the first name of my father.

Now pregnant with their third child, they decided to name him/her after mom though the spelling would be different.  I can’t help but believe, though mom was not fond of her name, that she would be honored, as the child should be for being named after such an awesome woman. 

Here is another interesting situation that has occurred in my family:  My maternal grandmother is the oldest of three.  She has two brothers.  Girl, boy, boy.  My mom is the oldest of three children.  She has two brothers.  Girl, boy, boy.  I am the oldest.  I have two brothers.  Girl, boy, boy, girl
My brother Patrick and his wife were the first to provide my mom with grandchildren.  There eldest is a girl.  She has two brothers.  Girl, boy, boy, girl.  I had told Kayla that her first-born would be a girl.  Mine was.  Mom’s was.  Patrick’s was. 

Do you honor the names that you have?

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