Saturday, September 5, 2009

What's in a name?

(photo taken at Evan & Sarah's wedding)

We've been talking about what the name of The Kid is going to be. We've done this on four occasions and you would think we would be getting pretty close, but we're not really. In fact, two of those four discussions were spent on what we are going to do about his last name. I assume the majority of parents don't need to spend much time on the last name, but we do and we're not done yet. What's in a name is not the same for everyone.

I'm just not attached to my names. Together, they are a convenient tool. If I needed to change mine, I don't believe I would require much time in adapting. Through my names I do not feel a connection to history, ancestors or identity, though I know that they have helped to shape me.

I think of all the males and females through time that added their genetics in the cosmic intermixing that led to this body I call me; my own private room in the Universe. And I think of this last name I cary that randomly traveled through this mass of genetic donors. It dose not seem so much me as it does an accident of who happened to have the Y chromosome when these men and women got together. Like a pebble bouncing down a cliff, side to side, my last name flowed through history and landed on me. It's not me. It's just mine. I am amazed at the connection to history, ancestors and the people of the world that I posses through the DNA of every one of my cells; and merely amused at the odd path my last name took to get here.

Tami sees this differently. In simplest form, she does sense a connection to history and family through her name and this connection is something that she feels is very valuable and worthy of preserving. Neither of us changed our last name after marriage, so what do we do about The Kid's last name?

Tami would like four names for The Kid. A first and two middle names, one being Tami's last, with mine as The Kid's last name. I would prefer he have fewer names and proposed it would be better if The Kid is to have either her last as the only middle name or her last name as his last, rather than have four names. Two names or even one would suffice. Four seems a little extravagant for a boy to whom I hope to teach the benefits of simplicity. Tami still wants the four names with mine at the end. It's an interesting discussion when two people, not exactly alike in thinking, try to negotiate with each other based on rationale that was, at least in my case, only recently negotiated internally between personal philosophy and accepted traditions.

I wonder how our choice of names will affect our son as he develops his personality? How much will the name contribute to his experience compared to the genetic code we are passing down to him, developed by a strange mix of chances and forces over the millennia? I wonder what The Kid will think of this whole discussion some day. I wonder what name he will be pronouncing when he considers it's connection to his own identity.


  1. No input on names today, but awesome picture. One of our favorites. :)

  2. Thanks! We are so glad we were able to be at your wedding- all three of us.