Monthly Archives: April 2015

What’s in a Name?

I know I haven’t blogged in forever, but I’m coming out of retirement to link up with Andrea for today’s post.

So, name stories… I feel like I’ve got some good ones. See, I was born back in the 70’s. Before sonograms allowed parents to know the baby’s gender. When my parents were expecting me, I was a crapshoot. My mom had two sisters and my dad was one of five brothers. So they planned for either outcome. If I was a boy I was going to be Matthew Robert (the Robert was after my grandfather). If I was a girl, I was going to be Heidi Denise.

I know. Awful. NOT the boy part.

Thankfully, I was born five weeks premature. And as such, only weighed four pounds, eight ounces. Very tiny. So tiny, in fact, that my mom decided that ‘Heidi’ was too big of a name for such a small person. So she decided on Amy. Not my favorite, but better than Heidi and not the ‘Jennifer’ that every other female of my generation was named.

Fast forward thirty years, and The Spouse and I were expecting our first. I was SURE it was a girl, since I’d had my girl name ready since I was eighteen. Yeah, wasn’t gonna happen.

We found out we were having a boy and I was flabbergasted. We went back to the Baby Name Dictionary and ran into several snags. We wanted something unique but not too weird (my years as a teacher determined that we didn’t want to name our kid something he would always have to spell for others). Tanner? Loved it, but the kid in Bad News Bears had such a horrible mouth on him that we didn’t want to predestine our kid with profanity. Conner? That was the front runner until we saw Road to Perdition while I was pregnant and I didn’t want to name our son after a bad guy.

So we went back to family. My grandpa, who I loved dearly, was Robert Warren. BUT, The Spouse and his family were from West Texas. That meant one thing – that any variant of Robert would eventually become Bubba. I wasn’t having a Bubba in my family. Period. So we thought about keeping the initials: RW. Tried to find a unique (but not weird) name that started with R for a boy.

Over drinks one night (virgin for me) we watched a marathon of Star Trek: The Next Generation. (Confession: I’m a Trekkie/Trekker. The Spouse is a Trekker. Yes, there is a difference. Big. Google it.) The Spouse jokingly threw out ‘What about William Riker? I latched onto the ‘R’ in Riker and said, ‘How about Riker?’ and there we were. I suggested Riker Warren (keeping my grandpa’s middle name) and The Spouse chimed in that Warren was a family name on his dad’s side of the family. Done.

Fast forward 11 years and our Riker Warren got to meet Jonathan Frakes (the actor who played William Riker on Star Trek: TNG). It was an epic moment. We have pictures and autographs. Amazing. And yes, our Riker’s first Halloween costume was a Star Trek commander’s uniform. Really.

Two years later we found out we were expecting our second son. Too bad in a way, because my girl’s name also starts with R and would have been a perfect fit with Riker as a big brother. Not in the cards. So we were back to square one. Me being the reading teacher, I wanted something literary like Harry. The Spouse wasn’t having it. So we (again) looked to movies and TV. Our favorite TV show at the time was Alias, and one of the main characters was Jack. I’ve always loved the name Jack. But The Spouse thought it was too ‘ordinary’ for our son. Sigh. Right around that time, I went into premature labor (at 17 weeks) with our son and the next few months were a scary time of praying, hoping, endless doctor visits, medication, sonograms and daily meds for me. That little guy fought to stay inside and grow. And grow he did.

When it was finally time to be induced (since Little Guy finally realized that he was warm and snug inside and didn’t want to come out any time soon), we were still without a name. On the same TV show as Jack, there was another character named Michael Vaughn, but everyone called him Vaughn. I mentioned the name to The Spouse but he was resistant, so we looked up the meaning. Little did we know that Vaughn means ‘small’. I suggested my parents’ original boy middle name for me (Matthew) which happens to be The Spouse’s brother’s name. We looked it up and found that Matthew means ‘gift of God’. If that wasn’t divine intervention, I don’t know what is. After all of the scares, our ‘small gift of God’ has turned out to be just that – even if he is ten years old and five feet tall now!

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