I was reading an article in Geist Magazine last week about a writing retreat, and how the attendees were invited to do an ice-breaker activity on the first day where they had to write up “The Story of Your Name” and then read it out loud.
And I was wondering: does everyone have a name story? Is this a thing? I mean, I could tell the story of all three of our kids’ names in one line each:
The Captain: We bought a book of Indian Baby Names, and while Sir Monkeypants’ mother was reading selections out loud, she said this name and we both looked immediately at each other and just knew, and from then on there was no other name.
Gal Smiley: We had a long, long list, and picked one, and then that name got vetoed by some relatives (lesson learned: never share your baby name before the baby is actually BORN and NAMED) and so we changed at the last minute on a bit of a whim to a name Sir Monkeypants had always liked.
Little Miss Sunshine: Has the same name as one of Sir Monkeypants’ distant cousins but we both really loved it and dithered for a while about whether or not it was okay for her to have the same name as a much-older relative that she was unlikely to ever meet, finally deciding yes, yes it was.
I guess those are kind of like fun facts. Not sure they could turn into a whole story, though.
My own name, though – there is a story there. My middle name is Catherine, I am Lynn Catherine, and recently MyFriendJen asked me why my first name is Lynn when so many women of our generation have the middle name Lynn.
Here is why. When my older sister was born, my mother had a name she wanted to use, but my father didn’t like it at all. So they made a deal; if my mom could use her name for my older sister, then when they had a second child, he could pick any name he wanted.
So when their second daughter came around (that’s me), he picked the name “Catherine Lynn”, because “Catherine” has a certain rhyming synergy with my older sister’s name. But my mother really, really disliked the name Catherine as it was the same name as a frenemy of hers in high school. But because of their deal, my father would not back down or change his mind.
In the hospital, they brought my mother the forms to fill out, and she just could not bring herself to write Catherine Lynn on the form. So she got around the whole deal thing by swapping the two names, and I have been Lynn ever since.
Without providing too much commentary, this story does make me feel like it is no surprise that my parents’ marriage was not a lasting one.
What’s the story of your name? I want to hear them all, big or small!