I’ve always been jealous of my friend Jenny Kiszkiss. Her last name, pronounced “Kiss kiss,” always made me smile. But I had Munsterer as a last name. It was a mouthful and it sounded like something that hid in German closets to scare kids. Luckily, my parents chose a gentle first name as balance.
I’ve been thinking a lot about first names lately since I’m eight months pregnant and have no idea what I’m going to name this little creature in my belly. I have three different books of baby names with meanings and origins. And at night, before bed, my husband and I flip through each letter of the alphabet, hemming and hawing from Aaron to Zephyr. Since we don’t know the gender of our little one, it makes it doubly difficult.
There are many names I like. Sadie is adorable. So is Violet. (Mom, we’re not naming our kiddo Sadie or Violet, so don’t start ordering monogrammed tote bags.) Milo would be handsome. So would William. (Same goes here, Mom!)
But I want to fall in LOVE with a name. My favorite name is already taken by my Labrador retriever, Mabel. She was named after the protagonist in The Pirates of Penzance, but really, she was named because I love the name. (Most people think Mabel sounds like an elderly woman who crochets ugly sweaters. But I LOVE the name.)
And since everyone has an opinion, I hesitate to even mention names I like. Recently, when I nonchalantly mentioned a name I like to a friend, she moaned. From that moment on, Ingrid has been off the table.
I also know that there is always pressure to choose the “perfect name.” Perhaps it is a family name. Perhaps it is an uncommon name. Perhaps it is a name with significant meaning. And there’s also pressure for my husband and I to agree on a name. He tends to like trendy names (i.e. Ryan for a girl.) I like more traditional names (i.e. Ryan for a boy.)
But I also know that there is no such thing as the perfect name. Life might change his/her name in ways I can’t imagine. As soon as I would name my baby Elisa, there are going to be three other Elisas in her nursery school. Or a Kardashian will name another daughter Elisa. Or Elisa will be the name of the newest Apple software. Or Elisa will become “Smelly Ellie” on the school bus.
I’ve been waiting for the two perfect names to fall into my lap. I’ve been waiting to meet a waitress with a name that I’m convinced MUST be the name of my new daughter. I’ve been waiting to be inspired by a literary character with the perfect blend of masculinity/wisdom/and humor. But so far, it’s been a slow process.
My husband and I have a few weeks left for inspiration to strike. But if it doesn’t, on the big day, we’ll do the best we can to name young Billy/Jimmy/Hugo/Dean/Winston/James/Jeremy. Whatever he’s called, he’ll be awesome.