My children are obsessed with people’s names. At least once a week, we have the same conversation. It goes something like this:

“What’s your favorite girl name, Mom?”

“Gabrielle and Sophia.”

“No, just one!”

“I can’t choose just one.” (For obvious reasons.)

“Why do you like them?”

“Because they sound beautiful and I love what they mean.”

“What does my name mean?”

“Child of God.”

“Mine?”

“Wise.”

“And my middle name means “born again,” right?”

“Yes, Gab.”

“What about mine, Mom?”

“You’re named after Mom-Mom.”

Then I quickly change the conversation, before Sophia can ask me what it means.

 

In my state, hours after you give birth, while you’re still feeling like you’ve been run over twice by an 18 wheeler, you receive a phone call from some state employee asking you to confirm your baby’s name. This was not the case in the state where I had my first daughter, so I was not prepared for this phone call. I was banking on a little more time to convince my husband that it was really not necessary to name this child after his mother. It’s not that I dislike his mother. It’s just that her name means “bitter and warlike” and when coupled with the name Sophia, it sounds like I just gave birth to a Spanish toreador whose last name should be “Ole.” This doesn’t seem to upset him in the least.

                “It’s only a middle name, Dee, what’s the difference? It will mean so much to her. Don’t I have a say in this? She’s my daughter, too. I think I deserve a say here too, don’t I?”

Listen buddy, come talk to me after you’ve pushed a bowling ball out of no-man’s land and need to send out a search party to find your feet before you can get dressed. Then you’ll have your say.

This is what I’m thinking. But what comes out of my mouth is “Of course you do, honey.” Because given a little more time, I know I can use my feminine wiles to help him see the light. 

So when the phone rings, my husband picks it up, mumbles something to the caller and hands it to me with a huge smile. I’m expecting to hear “Congratulations!” or a “Dee, is it okay if I teach Gabby how to make homemade spaghetti?” from my sister who is watching my 3 year old daughter.

“Ma’am, what is the baby’s full name?”

“Ummm, yes.”  I look at my husband. He’s still smiling.

“Ma’am?”

“Sophia.”

“Full name, Ma’am?”

“Cross.”

“No middle name?”

I snap my fingers at my husband and point to the open door, hand flapping wildly, and mouth the words “Can you go get the nurse for me?” then put the back of my hand against my forehead, like I’m going to faint. I need to get him out of this room.  Now.

He nods his head, gives me the okay sign and quickly gets up and shuts the door. And sits back down across from me.

“Ma’am?”

“Ma’am???”

I blurt it out quickly and end the call. My husband is wearing a nauseating smile that takes up his whole face. I want to smack him.

“Thanks, Dee. I love you.”

I hate you.  I’m tacking 16 weeks onto the post-partum recovery schedule and cancelling your Sports Illustrated subscription.

“I love you, too, honey. Can you do me a favor and please go get the nurse? I’m feeling really nauseous.”

 

Now, how do I tell my daughter, who knows how much thought I put into finding a name with just the right meaning for her older sister, that her name means “wise and bitter and warlike?” It’s bad enough that you can’t say her name without singing it because it has so many stressed, long vowel sounds. I’m sure most people don’t worry about things like this.  Most people probably don’t even have this conversation with their kids. But like I said, for whatever reason, my kids are fascinated with names.

This leads me back to the original intent of this post. Today my daughter asked me what name I would choose if I could name myself. This is not the same question as “What’s your favorite name?” My favorite name wouldn’t “fit” me. It’s too glamorous and is meant for a full-blooded, very cosmopolitan Italian woman with long and lean legs, a body that would stop traffic and long, flowing black hair (and now you all know that is definitely NOT me.) I do know that it isn’t Danielle, because I don’t like the sound of it –“Dan Yell” (although my mother pronounces it “Den Yell,” unlike the rest of the universe.) I don’t like the meaning, either. My name means “God is my Judge,” and that’s not something I prefer to think about. So I don’t particularly like my name and I don’t feel it fits me.

That’s what I am thinking about today. If I could name myself, what name would I choose? What name fits me?

 I’m asking all of you the same question—what name would YOU choose, and why?

A little humor to start my day. This is about as poetic as I can get today.  Dedicated to frustrated parents of “tweens.” You know who you are.  To the tune of “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore” by Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond. (Well, it drifts away but oh well. This isn’t meant to be iconic.) Yes I’m getting old.  Ahem….

Tween Sizes

 

You don’t fit in Children’s

You’re too young for Junior’s…

Can fit no more through this dressing room door

I even ripped clothes off of every display

 

I remember when….

You used to love your Carter’s

Osh Kosh B’Gosh would thrill you…

Now you want skirts half-way up your backside…..

“Mom you just have no style…

You still say “outta sight!”

“Honey, I’m not that old– and my taste doesn’t “bite”….

Why must you make clothes shopping such a chore?”

 

Now I know what friends meant–

They said my day was coming….

Now every shopping trip ends in a fight

“Mom I just have to have these!”

“Child those jeans are too tight!”

“No they fit fine, I swear it…I’m just bloated tonight!”

“Honey I don’t think you’ll lose 15 pounds in one night—

So hang them on the “NO” hook, on the door.”

 

Can’t wait to get the hell out

Of this store…

And I won’t bring you shopping….

anymore….