Thursday, March 14, 2019

What's in a Name?

I've been thinking a lot about names lately. Big surprise, right? It's a common pastime for most parents-to-be. And now at the end of the third trimester (I'm due in 6 weeks!), we get two questions over and over again.

#1. Do you know if it's a boy or girl?
A: Girl!

#2. Do you have a name picked out?
A: We have some top contenders, but we are not deciding until we see the baby. We're keeping those options secret for now (although we did give each of the four grandparents a chance to tell us any names they would really hate their grandchild to have, which bright forth some hilarious results).

But it's more than the baby fever. Names are big business in the Hajek household. I'm a writer, he's a game designer. Picking the perfect name for our characters is a key component of our jobs. Not to mention all the characters we name on the fly in our RPG games... *

*Nathan likes to spell names weird.** It drives me crazy. I could never remember the weird names he picked out for our Star Wars RPG. And our team tended to care the most about the characters with the most familiar names. So I finally got to the point--after several years and dozens of NPCs--where I asked Nathan to just give the NPC's (non-player-characters) ordinary English names. "We'll KNOW they really have some weird space name. This is just what we call them so we can remember them." 

**I can say with about 98% certainty that our daughter's name will have a normal spelling.

Names are important. They convey a lot about a person/character. I work really hard to come up with the perfect name for each character in my book. I'm very happy with "Daphne" as the heroine of "The Mermaid and the Unicorn," and I love "Justin" and "Ruth" as the protagonists as the next book. These names all came pretty easily to me as well. On the flip side, however, I wrote the first half of a first draft of a novel last summer and I'm still not sure about the correct name for my heroine. Even though I'm taking a breather on that project for right now, it still bugs me that I don't know what her name actually is. Oh well. Another summer, another contemplation of names.

Anyhow. Nathan and I both have strong feelings about names. Unfortunately, we've both vetoed some of each other's longtime favorite names. Eeek. So while you'd think we'd be really good at naming this baby, the truth is we've been working on the name for six years and while we've got some good choices, I really am not sure at all what our daughter is going to end up getting titled. I wanted to start talking names the moment we got the positive test, but Nathan wouldn't seriously discuss anything until we had the 20-week-ultrasound with gender reveal, and he's been firm about deciding on a name ahead of time. Which, to be very honest, is something of a relief for me. Deep down, I don't want to even whisper a name to anyone but Nathan right now. I don't want to be at all locked in until I see her face.

I want to like my daughter's name. I want my husband to like it. I want it to fit her. And I want her to like it. I adore my own name and just hope we can do as well naming our little girl as my parents did naming me.

But I do believe the perfect name will come at the right time. We did, after all, pick a name for our dog that we still love to this day--and ended up having a perfect meaning that we didn't plan on. ("Mateo Raphael" means, roughly,  "God's Gift of Healing"). If God can lead us that well with our dog, I'm pretty sure it'll all work out well for our daughter too. Just a little more pressure!

Right now our nieces and our moms have come up with nicknames that combine into "Princess Raspberry Spitfire." I like that a lot as a pre-birth nickname. We called her Nisswa before we knew she was a girl, cuz we were in Nisswa, MN when we got the positive test. Nowadays I call her "Sweet Pea" a lot. Or, "YOU. Don't get any ideas!" ;)

(And yes, we do have some boy names in mind as back-up, even though we are 99.99% sure we will not need them).

While I can't give you any hints as to what we are thinking about, I CAN tell you this: when we officially name our daughter, I'll be sharing exactly why we picked the names. Because, as you can tell, names mean a lot to me, and I love hearing the stories behind them.