What’s in a Name? Part One- Choosing.

Hanging on the wall of Jake's Red Wings room

As I’ve mentioned in past posts, I spend many of my days talking with expecting mothers. (Because after all, there’s a lot of free time to chat while you’re taking an average of 90-100+ pictures of their fetus.) I love asking them questions. It’s probably the most rewarding part of my job, learning about how patients got to the point they at in their lives, and where they hope their current situations will lead. I enjoy hearing what people find meaningful in their own lives, and where they discover beauty that I might have otherwise left unseen. Asking them about names, and more importantly, how they chose those names, is an endless amusement for me. I encourage most parents to write the story of choosing a name down and placing it in a baby book for their child to be. It’s often the seemingly meaningless name that caught your fancy that serves to become a overwhelmingly significant force in your perception of this little person to be. Certainly, with my own children, the only names Ryan and I could agree on would rather become something that I can only construe as being destined.

I knew very early in my first pregnancy that Jake was going to be a boy. (That’s the perks of being a sonographer, I suppose.) Ryan and I immediately went to war trying to pick out names. As you can probably tell from my posts, I am excruciatingly sentimental, and so a meaningful name was an absolute most important part of a baby to me. Off the bat, I wanted to name our son Douglas Wayne, as my father is Wayne Douglas, and his father is Douglas Wayne. Of course, by all rights my son should’ve been Wayne Douglas, as I should’ve been Douglas Wayne, but alas, I am not a boy. So, my father’s naming tradition could not follow on. It only seemed right that I should rectify my mistakingly having been born a girl. Ryan could not have disagreed more.

My husband, Ryan EDWARD, born of Tim Edward, thought that our son should have Edward as a middle name also. I simply could not wrap my thoughts around this name. It sounded foreign (not in the ‘anti-American, but rather in the ‘not my familiar family’ kind of way) and it simply did not flow with either Wayne or Douglas in my opinion. And, being the stubborn only child that I am, I was not going to perpetuate one family tradition if that meant snubbing another. We decided that neither of us would honor our family naming patterns.

It occurred to me for a while that I might let fate decide. We carefully read names from our baby books and waited for our fetus to kick, signaling that he liked the name we had just spoke. Unfortunately, our fetus had a liking for middle eastern names with more vowels than I was comfortable even attempting to pronounce carefully. This technique was not working well.

So next, I set to work trying to make a name of our two names. I happen to have an uncle, (Calvin) who married a wonderful woman (Kari) and had twin daughters (Calsi and Karissa).  I often thought of how clever it was that CALsi got to bear part of CALvin with her, as KARIssa did with KARI. I knew that I wanted our child to have a meaningful name of that magnitude. But, after much thought, the only thing I could come up with was “Rymin”, which breaks one of my basic naming rules. (No name my child is given should rhyme with a female body part, ever, per a great Seinfeld episode.) Additionally, Ryan would never go for a name that sounded like a ghetto rapper name. And as for switching our names… Minan didn’t really have a ring to it either. (We did, however, resurrect Rymin for our Guitar Hero band name, and it works fine for that. So, it wasn’t a total loss.)

My next strategy was just to throw a million names I liked at him. He would put them through his “how many ways can you tease a kid with this name” test. Apparently, trendy names that I liked, such as Conner and Logan would lend a child to a wimpy persona and put him at additional risk of being beat up. (To this day, I disagree, but… I respect my husband’s thoughts too, so I got over it). Ryan tested me once, asking me if I liked the name Trey. I loved it, and anticipated that he would too, as his favorite band has a lead singer named Trey. However, clearly, this name did not pass Ryan’s naming test. How could we give our kid a name that would one day become ashTREY or TREYlor trash…

The next battle plan I took was looking for inspiration from part of our history as a couple, the Red Wings. Ryan and I had met right around the same time a really powerful dynasty of Red Wings players (our favorite hockey time) were heading for the Stanley Cup. A good deal our short courtship revolved around watching the Red Wings. In fact, there’s a good chance Jake had been conceived shortly after a triple overtime game during the playoffs that year. Once I got Ryan over the idea of simply using game play statistics as a deciding factor (because we’re not Russian, so names like Sergio and Vladimir might be offensive to his Scottish Highland Festival going parents….) we came to decide that our baby would be Brendan, after Red Wing’s assistant captain, Brendan Shanahan. (Because Steve, after Yzerman would be very inappropriate given my previous relationship.) We started sharing our news with family. I had even decided perhaps we would go with Edward as a middle name after all.

And suddenly, the time was drawing near! I woke up in the middle of the night, contractions longer than there was time between them, and I knew our little boy was coming. As we were on our way to the hospital, it occurred to me that of all the things I knew about him, I knew for sure that his name was not Brendan. For reasons I could not begin to explain to this day, I knew his name was to be Jacob Ryan. (Why?!?! BECAUSE I’M IN LABOR AND YOU’RE NOT RYAN! HURRY THE HELL UP!)

Ryan immediately agreed that the name sounded good, and between contractions we discussed how nice it would be to give to him a name that he could manipulate to his own personality. Our son could be known as Jacob. He could be known as Jake. Or, Jake Ryan. Or, JR. Or Junior, given that indeed he had a part of his father’s name, also, just as we had originally set out to achieve. If it tickled his fancy, he could be JR2 (pronounced JR squared) or Jacob2R, and that would all be just fine, and tough to make fun of. But we would let him decide when that day came.

Imagine the confusion that set in when the family was invited in to met Jacob, while they were expecting Brendan! And oddly enough, (though it took me over 1000 words to get this far), this was just the beginning of a most amazing story!

To Be Continued…..


About Mindy

I am a mother of two boys, a disc golfer, a former derby girl, a sonographer and an aspiring writer. Sometimes words and events replay in my head endlessly until I let them out. I am verbose. I have lots to say all of the time. If there's something you'd like to know, you'd be better off asking.
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One Response to What’s in a Name? Part One- Choosing.

  1. Pingback: What’s in a Name- Part 2 Learning | The Sun and the Moon Brothers

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