dot dot dot

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What's in a Name?

Family pictures one year ago

People always ask me how we came up with the name Scarlett. When I introduce her, I generally get a very surprised "oohhh!" It catches people off guard, and I'm never sure if it's a good or bad reaction. I kind of expected this would be how people reacted when we chose the name, but I honestly felt like I wasn't the one making the choice. I liked the name, and loved the idea of it, but I wasn't sure if we were bold enough to have a kid named Scarlett. Ultimately, naming Scarlett was a very spiritual experience for me. Her little spirit knew exactly what she wanted to be called, and she let me know it. 

About a year before I got pregnant with Scarlett, my friend (who is incredibly spiritual and just KNOWS things) randomly said to me, "what do you think about the name Scarlett? I could see you with a daughter named Scarlett." I liked it but I thought Todd would never go for it. So imagine my surprise when I mentioned it to him and he said he really liked it. But then we thought that a first name ending with a "t" and a last name starting with a "t" would be hard to say, so we nixed it.

When it came down to actually choosing a name, the process was horrendous. I never thought I would marry someone as opinionated as I am. So we decided to look up the Social Security Administration's top 500 names from the previous year and each highlight the names we liked separately. We would then combine the lists, and whichever names were on both lists would comprise our final list. Why the top 500 names? Because 100 names is too narrow a pool, and 1000 is way too many. The names that are ranked 101-500 are generally common enough that you've heard them, but you don't know 10 people with that name. Names 501-1000 include the freaky names that you've never heard of, can't spell, and your kid will hate you for. 

So we had a solid list of 10-15 names, including some of my most favorite names that I've loved for years and years and years, like Clara and Anna. Scarlett was not on our list. We would try out different names for days or weeks at a time, and nothing felt right. I was so sad when I just couldn't call the baby Clara, it just didn't fit.

One day old

I was determined to have a name sooner rather than later -- I'll admit it, so I could get everything in her room monogrammed -- but I was also just so impatient and was ready to start calling her by her name. One night Todd said he didn't think the name we would choose was even on our list, and I about had an emotional breakdown. How was that even possible? We had combed every book and internet name website imaginable. 

Then one night we had some friends over for dinner and we were talking about how they named their kids. They asked what we were thinking. We told them all about our naming saga, and --there is some confusion as to who brought this up, whether it was Todd or one of our friends -- somebody mentioned the name Scarlett. We said we liked that name but it didn't really go with our last name. They were both like, no it sounds normal. And we looked at each other and we both just knew, that was her name. 

Roasting marshmallows on Veterans Day

Later that night I looked up the meaning of Scarlett on some baby name website, and the definition was "a vivacious woman." BAM. I got goose bumps. I knew it. It was exactly what I was looking for. I didn't want some name that meant something like, "loves the wind" or something absurd. I wanted something real and spunky and fun. 

Even then, when I would think about it later, I would think well maybe it wasn't quite right. I would think maybe we should keep looking. And then I would tell somebody what we were thinking -- hesitantly -- and I would get the biggest case of goosebumps you've ever seen. I knew I wasn't choosing her name, she was choosing her name. 

There is a lot of debate over the best way to name a kid -- some people choose a name before the baby is born, and some people don't believe they can name a kid until they meet it. All I know is that my girl is curious, incredibly determined, full of energy, and has a hot little temper. If that's not vivacious, I don't know what is.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post. :) So sweet and she will love you telling her this story as she grows.