In a name

Friday, August 1, 2008

When I was growing up, near Vancouver and outside of Toronto, there was never anyone else in my class named Emma – never anyone in the same school.  We had spent two years in South Korea where I went to a British school, and there were so many Emma’s that I had to be Emma B., so I knew that somewhere, there were others like me!  And, whenever we went anywhere in Canada that you could buy items with your name printed on them (e.g. pens, stationary, stickers, etc.), they never had my name.  Except if we went to England.

It’s one of those things about childhood that stays with you, and your parents really can’t win-suppose they had named me Jennifer.  I would have been one of many, and that probably would have bugged me.  Instead, it bugged me that I was the only Emma.

So these are the things you think about when you have your own children – and I just repeated history.  Both of my sons (one born in England, one born in Canada, both being raised in Canada) have names that are very common in England and barely exist in Canada.  I mean, people don’t really know how to pronounce Callum or even know what I am saying when they ask me his name.  It was seriously freaking to be shopping in Milton Keynes (England) a couple of weeks ago and hear a few mums call for their own Callums.  I think Oliver might be on the rise here; it’s not quite as unheard of as it was a couple of years ago.

Both of them have middle names reflecting male family members on both sides.  Oliver’s first name, it turns out, is also a very common family name on the paternal side.  But Callum just came out of nowhere – as pretty much the only name that Mark and I could sort of agree on.

But again, if they want anything with their name on it, either I have to make it, or we buy it in England.  Or people from England give it to them.  (Sorry, I meant if I want it, they could care less right now!)


Several people I know, including one of my cousins, have had sons in the last week or two, all with names that we considered for either one or both children. Mathew.  Rhys. Liam. Benjamin. All good names. It’s so hard to know what is right, when you consider the future of your child. Is he going to get beaten up in the playground for having a name that they can really turn in to something terrible? (not going to post what we worry Oliver will be called!)

Very bravely, Catwoman is actually having a contest to name her unborn son.  I think I am too chicken to enter.  It’s hard enough to decide on your own offspring.  I don’t want to gamble with someone else’s future!

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2 Responses to “In a name”

  1. cheryl Says:

    my 9 month olds name is oliver.
    i’m intrigued to know what you worry he will be called.

  2. EWiller Says:

    Don’t worry – it’s the combination of the first and last name together! Hopefully you have a more sensible, less tease-worthy last name than us 🙂


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