Expectant parents usually spend a generous amount of time planning the proper name for the coming baby, and rightfully so. The wrong name can create all kinds of problems. We’re all familiar with the woes of boys named Sue and girls named Johnnie. If you’re looking for an unusual name, don’t choose James, John, Robert, or Michael. Those are the four most common male names in the USA, according to the names turned in to the census recently.
The top four female names are Mary (of course), Patricia, Linda, and Barbara. Choose carefully. The wrong name can cause too much stress in an already stressful world. Do some cautious and protracted pondering before you name that child.
Mama told me that she and Daddy discussed hundreds of names for me before I arrived. Mama wanted to name me Lucille. Daddy said, “No.” Mama wanted to name me Eunice after my grandmother—Daddy’s mother. Daddy said, “Absolutely not!” Finally, a few days before I was born, Daddy said, “If this child is a girl, her name is Mary Ann.” Mama agreed and here I am. Growing up, I hated my name, but even then I was glad Daddy hadn’t let Mama choose. Eunice was my grandmother, not me. I was no Lucille either.
Over the years I’ve grown into my name and am not unhappy with it. I do wish my parents had had the foresight to make it one name—Maryann or Marianne. People mostly get the Mary right, but Ann is a bit of a problem. I turn into Mary Nell, Mary Sue, Mary Jane, Mary Alice, etc. You get the idea. My name creates a quandary for people. My solution is to answer to about anything as long as it begins with Mary.
This morning at church, an older gentleman who has known me for about 30 years extended his hand and said, “How are you this morning, Mary Ellen? It’s good to see you.”
“I’m fine,” I replied. “It’s good to see you, too.”
My son Joshua Luther asked me recently why we didn’t give him his grandfather’s middle name—Tatum--instead of Luther.
“I like Tatum,” he said, implying that he doesn’t like Luther, “and everyone in the whole world is named Josh.”
“Not until after we named you that,” I replied. “Also, your grandpa hated his middle name. I didn’t even know what it was until I was an adult. He would never have approved.”
Josh had a real problem with his name when he was child. When he was seven, he quit answering to Josh and announced that his name was Fred. We dutifully called him Fred for maybe five weeks or so. Then he changed his name to George. He couldn’t explain to us why he wanted the change. When we inquired, he’d reply, “Because that’s my name now.”
Finally he returned to Joshua. He constantly instructed people: “Call me Joshua. My name is not Josh.” Along about 7th grade he gave up and has answered to Josh or Joshua ever since. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but I’d guess it was too much trouble. More important things at last required his attention.
It’s amazing how much our names affect us and yet they are chosen for us. I checked several interesting websites for meanings of my own name. One site said the name Mary Ann makes me quick-minded, versatile, and expressive. I am adaptable and creative in responding to new situations, and I make good first impressions.
“Wow!” I’m thinking. “This website is on to something.”
I should have quit reading right then. The next sentence said the name creates a lack of stability and a tendency to procrastinate or be too impulsive in my decision making. Malarkey!
What does this website know about my name? Better to turn to the bard who wrote the famous words into Juliet’s mouth:
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
I didn’t get my procrastination from my name. I got it from my daddy. His gene pool was quite powerful. Procrastination is not a good thing, but Daddy gave me good traits, too, and thankfully, he did give me my name.