What’s in a name?

It is amazing when you think about how much you impact this little person’s life.  Of course from what mom is eating while pregnant, to what activities she partakes in.  These are all important decisions and could have a lifelong effect.  For me the one thing that comes into play that has impacted my life very much is my name.  I like many Greeks have a ‘long Greek name’ that I actually didn’t use growing up.  I went by the shortened ‘English’ version.  Even some of my closest Greek friends didn’t know what my full name was until my 20’s.  Why was I running away from it?  I can’t really answer that question.  I just knew that people had a hard enough time saying Roula (pronounced roula) never mind throwing in an almost 30 letter first and last name combination.

Saying all that, the older I got the more I thought my name fit me.  My parents followed traditions and named both my brother and myself after our paternal grandparents.  In the Greek tradition the first boy and first girl are named after their paternal grandparents and the second boy and second girl are named after their maternal grandparents.  If you are fortunate enough to have a fifth child or a third child of one sex then you’re free to name the child whatever you like.  Now you’re probably reading this you’re saying but it is 2014, seriously?!? You’re going to follow these traditions that were instituted God only knows when?  For me it is a form of respect.  I can’t imagine not including my in-laws names in my child’s name.  It might be a variation of the name and not the exact name but traditions are what have kept us going for thousands of years.  It is important to be part of something like that, both for me and my hubby.

I reached out to my blog collaborators to ask their insight into baby names.  Here is what some of them had to say.  When asked if they followed the unwritten bylaws of naming their children that I mentioned above they responded:

“I did, both boys are named after their respective paternal grandfathers.”

“Yes, we followed the “unwritten law” and it is very fitting since my son is a carbon copy of his grandfather.  Liking the name helps too! I like giving a name that has roots.”

“Yes and no.  I fought that “tradition” because it’s one that was created with our parents’ generation,  so I didn’t believe in it too much.  But, it was important for my husband to have a son named after his father,  so I agreed because of that reason only.  His middle name is after my father.  My husband didn’t ask for a daughter to be named after his mother, so we decided together what to name her. Her first name is not Greek, so we decided to baptize her after my mother. For our third, we both agreed on a family name, and named him after my paternal grandfather. “

“ My daughter is names after my husband’s mom.  We tend to be traditional with nearly all the cultural/religious aspects of our family. However, I also love the name and with my mother-in-law being the only living grandparent for our children and my daughter being the first girl born in my husband’s family, it just seemed fitting and “meant-to-be” that my daughter be named after her. In addition for the short time that I got to know my mother-in-law, I learned she was a very lovely, strong and special woman. Both my husband and I wanted to honor her.   We also followed the tradition with our second child, our son. Lucky for us, both paternal and maternal grandfather had the same name, so it was a no-brainer for us especially since both our dads are deceased. Had our first born been a boy, we would have done the same thing with naming him.”

I then asked the ladies if they added their own ‘flair’ to their children’s middle names?  Here is what they had to say:

“With both boys first name was for grandfather and middle name was for father.”

“For my first born,  my daughter,  we added a flair for her middle name.  It is a Greek word, but not a Greek name and chose it because we liked it.  My second, a son, is the named after my father in law so we chose my father’s name as his middle name.  The reason for this is because I didn’t want it as a first name if we had another son, also, we didn’t know if we would have another boy.  Our third child is named after my father’s father. His middle name is after a saint to whom I prayed to throughout my pregnancy.”

“We followed the tradition with the middle name and gave our son his father’s name for his middle name.”

Hubby and I still haven’t 100% decided on a name.  I think once our little one is here and in our arms we’ll have all of the inspiration that we need.

Roula

A little ditty about Jack and Diane...no really in all seriousness I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm a Greek-American, who has transplanted in Canada. As a first time mom I'm sharing some things as I go along.

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