Friday, December 19, 2014

What if she Hates her Name?

When people first hear our daughter's name it always gets some remark, 

"Isn't that a boy's name?"

"You know she's going to have to spell that for people her entire life."

"That's interesting..."

"That's different..."

And my personal favorite was Zach's brother refusing to call her by her name because it wasn't spelled right. 

There are a few people who tell us they like it or that it's unique. What I really love, though, is when someone asks if there's a story behind her name. And yes there is. It's not a great story, but there's a reason for it and someday she'll know the reason and while I hope her name isn't something she hates for a number of reasons, I hope this story will be enough to maker her appreciate it and love it. 

Back when Zach and I first discussed names (before we were even engaged) I explained that names have to hold meaning and have to be unique. My name is Sharlee Rose. My first name was originally supposed to be Charlie (which I also love for a girl and would not have minded at all) either name is unique and I've always loved that. I never shared a name with anyone in my class and while I always have to spell it for people, it has never really bothered me. My middle name, Rose was my mom's grandma's  name. Carrying her name as my middle name always meant a lot to me as I always knew how much my mom loved her grandma. I thought it was special to share that. 

I had two girl names picked out for a long time: Jaysan (not sure on the spelling, but a female version of Jason) Maie (A unique first name--boy's name for a girl--and my dad's mom's middle name) that would be the name of my first daughter. My second daughter would be JilliAnn Elise (I like the name and my mom's mom's middle name was Ann and my mom's name is Elise). 

Jaysan and JilliAnn were my two girl names and I held onto them for dear life.

But then Zach and I had a somewhat hard time getting pregnant. And then I experienced a pregnancy loss followed six months later by a chemical pregnancy. When I finally became pregnant with JaiseAnn I was nearly thirty and I realized that maybe my plan to have four kids wouldn't happen. I was older and who knew how long it would take to get pregnant or if I would be able to at all. 

Not long after I discovered I was pregnant, I told Zach that I thought I wanted to spell Jaysan differently if it was a girl. I wanted to give both of my grandma's names to my daughter in the case that we weren't able to have more kids. I wanted to pass on more than one family name.

 I wanted to add a second "n" to the end and I wanted to capitalize the "a" so that my grandma's middle name would stand out. I knew that it would be pronounced by strangers as Jaise Ann (two separate names) but I also felt okay with that. If you say it fast enough it sounds like Jaysan anyway.

Zach was of course supportive. Over time we played around with the spelling. Ultimately I decided to spell the long "a" sound with an ai_e because it matched the spelling of the long "a" sound in Maie. (I know, I'm a nerd). And thus, JaiseAnn Maie was created. 

unique names

When she was born we hadn't discussed names for ages and while I was still dealing with some pretty awesome post birth stuff, I heard them ask Zach, "Do you guys have a name?" (I think to put on the card on her bassinet at the hospital). Without a thought Zach replied, "Yes. It's JaiseAnn Maie..." and he proceeded to spell it for them. Just like that. 

Some of our family members accepted it immediately. Others were more slow to warm up, asking if we would be calling her by a more feminine nickname. Nope, she's JaiseAnn. Though I never planned to, we do call her by her first and middle name about 40% of the time. It just fits. 

Sure it'll be a pain for her to spell it and explain it often. But hopefully she'll understand and appreciate her name the way I appreciate mine. It meant the world for me to give my first daughter both my grandma's names. 

And if nothing else, when you have an interesting name you always have an ice breaker. Right? 

What are your thoughts on names? Do you prefer traditional or more unique? Are family names important to you?

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