Thursday, February 7, 2013

Unusual Names

I used a book similar to this
Names are very important.  They have meaning.  They help shape your child's self image.

Please, people!  Think before naming your child some off-the-wall name like Shooter or Blue Ivy.  I'm just sayin'

With that being said, I, too,  wanted to name my children something unusual.  Our last name is a very common name known through the country.  In our little village, there are several families with our last name  - who are NOT related to us!  So, I wanted my children's first names to be different.

I also wanted my girls to have names that are feminine.  My parents spelled my name Jerri Lea although they pronounced it "Jerralea."  One word.  However, in school it became Jerri.  Sometimes, it was listed incorrectly as Jerry.  (There was an unfortunate incident where my name was typed Jerry for the boy's physical education class in Junior High.  My first day at the school, I reported to the boy's locker room. Yikes.)

I hated having a boy's name and often complained to my mother, who always replied, "When you have children of your own, you can name them what you want."

Just to make it more difficult, I was determined that my children would each have the letter "J" in their name since both mine and my husband's name started with J.

After years of infertility, we were excited when I became pregnant with our first child.  Immediately, I went to the library and looked for a baby name dictionary.  The hunt began for a name with meaning, beginning with a J, and gender-specific, and different.  Was that a tall order, or what?

We could not agree on a first name for a girl that began with J.  We compromised and made her middle name begin with J.

Elissa Joy.

Elissa is the French variation of Elizabeth, which means "consecrated to God."  Very fitting, since God was gracious and granted our request for her.

Joy means "delight."  A great choice, because we were so delighted to have her!

I thought I had picked the most unique name ever.  The day I got home from the hospital with my bundle of Joy, I picked up the newspaper and read where Dr. Elissa Miller was in town lecturing at the college.  Oh well, at least nobody I personally knew had a name like my daughter's.

Apparently, no one knows how to pronounce Elissa, either.  It is supposed to sound like Alyssa, but instead people will call her Alisha or even E-lissa with a long e sound.

Five years later, we were expecting again. I wanted a feminine girl's name that sounded good with Elissa and also started with J for a middle name.

Alexa Janae. ( NOT Alexis, and Janae rhymes with Reneé)
Alexa means "helper or defender." I love this name!  For her middle name, we chose the name Janae after a girl I once worked with when I worked in a lawyer's office.  She was a brilliant legal secretary; but more than that, she was pretty, kind, funny and a Christ-follower.  Just the perfect role model for my baby.  (Alas, we both moved on to other jobs and professions and have lost track of each other ...)

21 months later, we needed another girl name for our last baby.

This time I wanted a first name that would end with an A since Elissa and Alexa both did.  Of course, the middle name must begin with J.

It was hard to find just the right name.  I considered Karissa for a while but it didn't seem right.  Then I remembered her.  A little curly topped girl that moved into my area when I was in the 7th grade.  Her name was Malia Wilson.  She was only there a few months before she moved again, yet I always liked her name.

The baby book said Malia was Hawaiian for Mary.  One theory is that Mary means "wished for child."  I like it!  Since then, I've also heard that Malia means "Queen" in Swahili.

Since I had been the main name picker-outer, I let my husband come up with the middle name.  The only stipulation was it had to start with J. He chose Jaclyn for Jaclyn Smith, the actress who played in the television show, "Charlie's Angels."

After the baby was born, my brother asked my mother what we named the new baby.

"Malia Jaclyn," she told him.

"Good Lord," he said with disgust, "why can't she name her kids normal names?"

Hey, when you have children of your own, you can name them what you want.

Mama’s Losin’ It

This post was written in response to the Writer's Workshop prompt, 5.) Share how you came up with your kids names!  If you'd like to join in, visit Kathy at her blog, Mama's Losin' It.


Carol said...

What a fun post to read. I love all the names you so thoughtfully picked out.

Kristen said...

Your children have beautiful names! I'm afraid if I ever had a child I would be consumed with indecision about what to name him or her. I had a hard enough time picking out a name for my cat!

Jazzmin said...

This was such a fun, neat post to read!! I love names, they are so interesting in the fact that they can be so unique and have meanings.
The names you chose for your children are beautiful and the thought behind them! I think it's a nice medium to find a name that isn't common, but also one that is going to make the child feel strange about their name when they are older (like celebrity children).
Loved reading this. I obviously don't have any kids yet but I love to think about what I might name them in the future.

Have a blessed day!

Connie Sheppard said...

I like your choices....and especially the thought behind them. Great post...I hope you don't mind but Ai might steal the topic in the near future!

Kym Thorpe said...

That was fun to read! I love stories of how people chose their children's names. I had a similar approach to picking names - had to be different enough so that they wouldn't have a dozen friends with the same name, but not "weird". My daughter's name has a great story - Kennady Anne is named for her dad's favorite hockey team, the Canadiens. 8-D

Helena said...

I love reading these! The baby name prompt is a great one. I love the meaning behind your names. My baby's name actually has no meaning, because it's so new. I blogged about it, too. I especially love the meaning of Alexa, that is really great.

Susanne said...

A very fun post to read. I think your choices were all lovely!

Karen said...

This was fun to read. I love hearing the stories of how children are named. Your daughters have such beautiful names, too.

mare ball said...

I agree, your girls have beautiful names. I knew Elissa was pronounced Alyssa. A friend of mine has a girl named Joanae, pronounced Joan-ay. Once you clarify pronunciation for people, the name makes sense. My girl is Sara without the 'h.' She's had to correct THAT all her life. :-)