What’s in a name?

I hate my name. I hate my name. I hate my name.

Kindergarten Me.

“I liked the meaning.” My mother used to tell me after I had complained for the 1,298th time that I hated my name. Meaning? Like I cared what my name meant when I was 8 and there were 4 other girls in my class named Amy.

Of course, she would threaten me with her alternative choice. “I was thinking about Viola, too”. Apparently there’s a great grandma somewhere named “Viola”.  Which is exactly where it needed to stay, with great-grandma.

Speaking of grandma’s, I can credit my mother’s mother with my middle name. “Ruth”. Ugh. My grandmother’s name was Ruth Gladys and while she is my most favorite grandma in the whole wide world, I hate, hate, hate the name. My mother’s name was Ruth Ann. My name is Amy Ruth. I thought only boys got stuck with family names.

Tom and Veronica

Since becoming a parent myself, I have come to realize naming a child isn’t easy. I’ve named 7 of them.  Family names, favorite names, what a name means. All are factors in naming a child. It doesn’t get easier.

Veronica Leigh was the easiest for me to name. I grew up with Archie comic books. Do you see where this is going? Yes, I named my daughter after the comic book character “Veronica Cooper”.

Gone with the Wind is my all time favorite movie, so Leigh is a nod to Vivian Leigh. I love how the name flows together and I knew she would be unique. She loves her name and I am happy that she does.

Thomas Richard was a bit more difficult ~ my ex-husband went to an all boy’s Catholic high school and every boy name I suggested, he associated with some boy he knew in school. “No, Sam stuffed me in a locker.”, ” No, George gave me wedgies.”,  “No, Jesse stole my homework.”

Thomas was the only name he couldn’t make a connection to. Richard is my brother’s name (also his godfather) so Thomas Richard it was.

I remarried in 2000. Hub and I did one of those freaky husband/wife things that amaze and astonish people. Nathaniel James was picked out of a baby name book. I looked and looked and looked and decided that I really liked the name Nathaniel. I liked that it was unique, I liked that it had a literary reference and I liked that there were so many nicknames to choose from. I really liked that it meant “A gift”.

I never said a word – I just handed the book to Hub. 10 minutes later he announced “Nathan” I like the name Nathan. *shivers* I know. I think I broke into tears, because how perfect was that? Is it even possible to come that close to the same name without tossing ideas around? Only once in a lifetime.

Jacob & Jonathan

Jacob Harley has nothing to do with the motorcycle company. Hub is a big time corvette aficionado. I had already suggested Jacob. (If I  had know it was paramount to “Amy” in popularity, I may have been swayed otherwise. Hindsight is 20/20.)

So Hub came up with 5 possible middle names. William (my dad’s name) Richard (his dad’s name) Marion (his grandpa’s name) and then there was Harley &  Earl.  Harley Earl is a real person. He is *The Man* who designed the first corvette.

Since Tom’s middle name is Richard, that would’ve been weird. It’s difficult to name children after one relative and not another. So, William & Marion were out. (Wel, Marion was out simply because in my world, it’s not much of a boy’s name.) That left the Harley Earl option. I liked Harley, so it really wasn’t that hard. Oh and Jacob is English for James. Perfect.

But then along came Jonathan. I had always liked the name and when we discovered that it was actually a form of Nathan. We loved it even more. Hub presented me with the same 5, well now down to 4, middle names. I am not fond of Earl. But for the same reasons as before I couldn’t pick any of the other names. So Jonathan Earl it is.


I thought I had Zachary William Dale named when I came up with William (my dad) and Dale (my father-in-law’s middle name). William Dale. I wanted to call him Willie.

But no, Hub had to have his 2 cents worth. Zora Arkus-Duntov was the engine designer of the corvette. So Hub’s contribution was Zora. Really? I don’t think so. Maybe for a girl, but in my world Zora is not a boy’s name, either. So I did some digging. Come to find out the man’s real name was Zachary. Bam! The only way to make it work was to saddle the boy with 3 names.

And then came David Henry Cole. The entire pregnancy the name David kept popping up.  David was a very popular name. But we had no David’s in the family (at least none I knew), I knew no David’s as a child, and Hub seemed to like it.

David at 3 months

It was a good strong name.  I also love, love , love the name Henry. I don’t know why, but I  always have. It was just one of those names that was never very well received on previous suggestions. So I knew David Henry was my boy.

But no, Hub had to have his 2 cents worth, again. “But what about a corvette name?” Really? Again? So what do you have this time? Edward Cole was the man he picked, another designer on Team Corvette.

Honestly, I don’t like it one bit. I try to ignore it when filling out paperwork for my David Henry. And when he asks I can tell him “David” means “Beloved”.

Because what a name means is important. Even if we don’t like it, we can learn to appreciate it and the painstaking process behind choosing it.

Do your children’s  names have special meanings? Was it an easy decision or was there much discussion? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!

Check out World Moms Blog today ~ my first article for them has been posted! Join Mom’s from around the world as they reflect on all things Mom.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. Jennifer Canter Vogland

    Amy, I love the picture…Mrs. Hill’s kindergarten class, right? Were you a.m. or p.m.? And yes, I can relate to all those other Amy’s….as there were just as many Jennys! By the way, I had my mom read your blog. First, she said to say hi, and then commented on what a good writer you are. She was very interested in your story and sends good thoughts your way. She also mentioned that this blog could lead to a book. You do have a very likeable writing style! We’ll keep reading 🙂

    • Jenny & Mrs. Canter,
      Thanks so much for stopping by! ~ I was in Mrs. Hill’s am class~how about you? I remember you lived right by Washington, didn’t you? I’m glad you like my writing. I am really enjoying it and it’s been really helpful in dealing with our extended hospital stay. It’s amazing how it just felt like the right time to start doing this and the response has been tremendous. Who knows? Maybe I’ve found my groove-thing, haha! Take care!

  2. I chose you for the Stylish Blogger Award. Check it out!


  3. Seven times! Wow! I find picking a name very very difficult. It’s like deciding on a tatoo. I’ve never gotten a tattoo because I just couldn’t decide what one thing to decide on for forever.

  4. Do you know that I’ve always wanted a daughter called Amy? For some reason that name always felt “right”. My two boys are Benjamin and Samuel, Ben and Sam. Sometimes I get them confused. I wanted simple names that could not be mispronounced, that could not be shortened into something awful, that would sound the same in English and Polish – my heritage.

    My then husband and I considered many names and finally agreed on those two. They both have their father’s surname as their middle name and my surname. Which is just as well, as he is no longer around and the three of us share the same name. Funny, how he was always the odd one out?

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