Names are an obsession of mine. I started keeping lists of names I liked when I was a tween. (Thank goodness I didn't have a baby to name back then--the poor thing would have had a name that even a soap opera character would have been ashamed to claim.) Our parents made an effort to give Ty and me names that a) were relatively uncommon without being weird, and b) meant something positive. Ty's name means "judged by God to be saved" (or to be lucky, according to his recent studies). My name means "queen of happiness." I haven't always liked my name--heck, I tried to get everyone to call me Jill for a few weeks when I was about 9 years old. But I've always been glad that my parents blessed me with a name that has such a positive meaning. Even though I get teased about it when people find out my middle name is Gae, I am proud that my middle name is a variation of my mother's name and I know Ty is proud that his middle name is a variation of Dad's name. I think it's a lovely connection to someone I love and admire, and I hope to make it a tradition by giving my (theoretical) children names that incorporate Steve's and my names in some way. (I also think it's kind of sweet in a "aw, we were meant to be together" kind of way that my first name means "queen" and Steve's first name means "crown.")
Sometimes I wish that I wasn't so obsessed with the meanings of names. If it didn't matter to me what a name meant, I would have a much longer list of names to pick from when/if we're blessed with children. As it is, I will never be able to bring myself to use some of my favorite names because they have negative meanings--for instance, I always wanted to name my daughter Cecilia and call her Cecily, but I discovered that the name means "blind." I had to take it off my list because I couldn't bear to give a baby a name that had such a negative connotation. Bummer.
Since names are important to me, I could never bring myself to name a child something just because it was cute. Rhyming, matching, obvious themes, and other cutesy stuff is out. This means that all names starting with the letter "K" are out because our last name starts with K and I think (no offense to others who think or are named otherwise) that alliteration in first and last names is just too cute for my personal taste. (Also, two K initials is too close to three K initials, and I'm trying to stay as far away from that connection as possible.) Sadly, one of my coworkers has the exact opposite opinion when it comes to naming his kids. Their first names all start with "G." Their last name starts with a "G." Their names are all vaguely British or Irish, which doesn't bother me by itself, but in concert with the GG thing, starts to bug with the cuteness overdose. They did alright with most of the names, but they just had twin boys and they'd evidently run out of steam. Here is a list of their children:
Gillian Cait (twin)
Gwyneth Rose (twin)
Griffin Orion (twin)
Guiness Finn (twin)
Some of those are very nice names. But did you catch that last one? Yep, he's named after beer. But it's spelled wrong. So he'll be teased till the day he dies about being an alcoholic, and he'll be driven to drink because no one will ever spell his name right. I think they should set up a therapy fund along with his college fund. If only they'd asked me, I could have given them a veritable plethora of G names that would have been better than Guiness. Gabriel or Gareth (both of which have lovely meanings)? Gavin, Garrison, Grady, Garrett, Geoffrey, or Gregory? None of those were better options than Guiness? Geez! (Pun intended.)
I make sure I never criticize a name to the parents, children, sundry relatives or other interested parties--especially after the ink is dry on the birth certificate (unless it's a celebrity, then it's fair game and I'm honor-bound to pounce on it). It's a sensitive subject, and I wouldn't want other people to be rude about a name I chose for my child, so I try to be nice about their choices no matter what. Besides, I'm not against unusual names as long as they're pretty and have positive connotations. I recognize that most people just want a name that sounds nice and that I'm a bit of a weirdo for caring so much about meanings and traditions. But I do sometimes wish someone would call me, their friendly neighborhood name expert, before they go around naming their kid for an alcoholic beverage or a physical disability.