Sunday, January 18, 2009

What's in a name?

This cartoon made me laugh. I also predict that there will be versions of Sasha and Malia, too.

It also made me think about how people get their names.

Everyone has a name. Some names are more original than others. Growing up, I always thought my name was a little unusual. I was in the 8th grade before I met or heard of anyone else with it. (Most kids would find that unbelievable these days, but there was no Internet or Google back then.)

I often wonder how my mother decided to name me Keela. Unfortunately, no one in the family remembers. When I get bored, I make up stories about it. I saw in one baby book that Keela was a form of Keely, which is Irish. Since I was born on St. Patrick's Day, maybe my Mom decided on an Irish name. Too bad we'll never know.

I was always fascinated with my grandmother's story. She had 10 kids and she didn't name any of them. She let neighbors, relatives and eventually the other children name each and every one of them. She said that the only thing that mattered to her was a healthy baby.

I was a little different when it came to naming my child. First of all, I had been dreaming of having a daughter since I found out where babies come from. And I'd been naming her every year since then, including the day I found out we were having a baby. Kendall Grace was going to be her name. We'd have the same initials.

Well, everyone knows how that story ended -- she was a he. And the name game began. First it was Jaden, because that was cute, but how cute would it be on a grown man. Then there was Malcolm. A strong name with some history to it, plus he'd have his father's initials. Then the dreams started. The dreams of my grandmother and grandfather.

You might think that was normal, but I'd never met the man before. Only heard stories and saw him in a picture. He died when I was young. But there was no doubt that it was him in my dreams. And he and my grandmother were happy. He was named after his father. And after that final dream his name was the most beautiful name in the world to me. And no matter what anyone else, including my poor husband, suggested I knew that my son's name would be Preston. And I can't wait to tell him the story of how he got it. As Biggie would say, "It was all a dream ... ."


  1. Have you read the book The Namesake? You might enjoy it. I loved it.

  2. I would like to thank all the Aunts for convincing my mom not to name me Shelby. And to show my appreciation, I shall name my daughter Shelby Elizabeth...maybe.