Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What's in a Name?

Do you know the history of your name?  Are you named after someone, or did your parents just like the sound of it?  One of my many idiosyncrasies is my quest for the perfect name.  Every opportunity in which I have gotten to name something has left me doing some deep soul searching.  This is evident in my very first blog post.  I deliberate and debate and agonize over the perfect name.  It is such a large part of your identity.  I feel sorry for those who are not at peace with their name.  At the beginning of every school year I ask my students to write a notebook entry about their name.  It is interesting to see what they know about their names, but just as interesting to see what they would rather be named.  In my opinion, whether you are Apple or Joe, a name needs to be meaningful and important. 

My daughter Tatum Lea  got her name from a fantasy football league draft.  My husband and I had a boy named picked out but we had many arguments about girl names.  When I was about 6 months pregnant, my hubby had a bunch of buddies over to draft for fantasy football.  If you don't know what this entails it is hours and hours of looking of lists and choosing players.  I was trying to save myself from the depths of boredom by looking at all of the funny names of some of the football players.  Parents sure can be clever.  Then suddenly as if the heavens parted and a choir of angels began to sing I saw the name Tatum Bell.  I fell in love with the name Tatum instantly.  I knew of Tatum O'Neal because I have a slight Paper Moon obsession, but I had not considered the name until that moment.  Later I came to find that Tatum means cheerful.  This name has turned out to be perfect, and it is funny to think that a 200 pound football player helped to name my teeny, tiny, wispy blond daughter. 

My daughter Tess Anne was named after Dick Tracy's girlfriend Tess Trueheart.  I really loved her name, and I loved who she was as a comic book character.  Strong, independent, loving, and true, everything I would want my daughter to embody.  I knew that I wanted a short sweet name and had been kicking around the name Tess throughout my pregnancy.  I actually wanted to name her Tess Trueheart McCauley, but my husband said that was a bit much.  I guess I was teetering on the edge of Inspektor Pilot and Banjo.  Both of which are actually celebrity baby names...I know can you believe it!?  Anyway, Tess Anne's name was not finalized until one fateful night when we were watching Jeopardy on TV.  Alex Trebek said, "Dick Tracy's faithful girlfriend."  The answer, "Who is Tess Trueheart".  Game over!  Fate stepped in to settle the baby name debate. 

I could not imagine my girls having any other names.  It was destiny, it was fate, it was their mother's mental issues.  There are stories behind my dog's names too.  As far as I am concerned there is a lot hidden within a name.    

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