In our married adventures my husband Jason and I have had our ups and downs in decision making. Sometimes I give. Sometimes he gives. And let’s just face it—sometimes we test each others’ limits just to see who will blink first.
One of our biggest decisions together was naming our children. Such a big deal! We wanted something beautiful, meaningful, musical and well, to be honest, easy to pronounce.
I grew up extremely shy. The painful-to-talk kind of shy. My Israeli name was almost always mispronounced. Friends, acquaintances anyone really was more likely to correct teachers, bus drivers, dentists, doctors than I was. Gah-leet. That’s phonetic. Gayle, Gu-lit, Gillette (the best a man can…oh forget it) are not phonetic. I hated correcting people so I often let the mispronunciations go.
As I got older I tried to go with the flow and let my name be the conversation piece that it vied to be, “It means little wave. Like in the ocean. Not a wave good bye.” *Insert blush* and then *Insert kind exclamation* “Oh! It’s so different! “Oh! So pretty!” “Oh! I’ve never heard that before!”
While I somewhat enjoyed the predictability that introductions held for me, I most often would get struck by that same feeling of AWKWARDNESS. And to be honest, I just didn’t want that for my kids. At the same time I did want the obvious connection to our culture, our story. So in order to give them a name with a meaning AND a chance at a lifetime of stress-free introductions, Jason and I decided to give our kids an American first name and an Israeli middle name.
Phew. Decision made. Now the fun part, right? What to choose, what to choose. Being the natural-born list maker that I am I started a notebook with lists. American first names. Israeli middle names. American first names AND Israeli middle names TOGETHER. Being the natural born wonderful husband that Jason is, he made lists with me.
We had finally chosen a gorgeous name for our daughter Kayli Adina and decided to share it with our families. “Is that one word? I like the middle name more. I’m going to call her a shortened version of the middle name. You can’t control what people call her. Have you considered your grandmother’s name?”
Honest-to-God, real reactions of our families. Hello, people—our child, our name, right? So wrong. From that moment forward, it became just between Jason and me. We didn’t tell anyone our thoughts for fear of their reactions. And we held onto that “rule” for all three kids.
Now, without everyone else’s criticisms, err- opinions, the decision making process should have been easy, right? We had lists people. Lots of them. But, a little known secret is that Jason is just as stubborn as I am and didn’t give in as easily as I thought (wished) he would. Eventually, I did indeed get to pick all three kids names and only once did I have to sink to the lows of the “you birth ‘em, you name name ‘em rule.” BUT, our kids’ names are PERFECT for them and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that their names were JUST RIGHT.
As their hand-picked by me, I mean us, Israeli middle names predicted, Kayli Adina is the gentlest soul ever, Chloe Liora could light up (and well, destroy, but never mind that) any room, at any time and Brody Adar is the most joyful little man.
Mamas, listen closely. Make lists. Talk. Discuss. But at the end of the day: “You birth ‘em, you name ‘em” because you know your child. The little bundle was made INSIDE you, after all. And when a name feels right in your gut and you can imagine saying that name in a sweet voice, a sleepy voice, a whiny voice, a yell, with an eye roll and so on and so on land on it and quickly have something monogrammed with it before anyone can change your mind. Trust yourself, mama. I do!
Ha. “you birth ’em, you name ’em” – I love it.
My husband and I worked on our childrens’ names, but I think, in the end, I prevailed: I wanted (and trusted my gut feelings about) names from the Torah, and Hebrew names.
I did not base the names on if anyone could pronounce them or not (I have an unusual name to Americans, and am proud of it. If they can’t pronounce it, that’s their problem).
We have (baruch Hashem) five kids, all grown. And I am proud to say they all have, for Americans, impronouncable names!
hi lady-light! thanks for the comment. congrats on the 5 grown kiddos with names that you all absolutely love. that’s the way it should be for everyone! 🙂
I loved reading this! My husband, Jon and I had similar issues with baby names. Our last name is as american as “smith”, so I told him that our children will need to have Israeli first and middle names. With our first we decided to each make our lists (type A personality, could be a galit thing)
Jon enlisted the input of EVERYONE he knows, family, friends and eventually strangers. This is YOUR CHILD, why do you care what others think. With our first I was in the hospital for 30 days before his birth, baruch hashem everything went very well, at one point my dr told my husband to go home because he was making my blood pressure go up. We were discussing names of course. I have to say that I am definitely more stubborn than my husband, but only because he will never see this.
I love our two sons names, Moti Meir and Elie Dov. My husband LOVES them too. I did finally win because I played the you birth ’em you name ’em card. I had high risk pregnancies and never complained…it was ALL worth it. I think that “our” name gave me a sense of identity, who I am and where I come from and thats what I am hoping it will do for my boys throughout their lives. Thank you for sharing your story, it really touched me. dash cham, galit
so wonderful to hear from you, galit! thank YOU for sharing your story; it warmed my heart and made my day to read. not that it matters, but i love your kids’ names! 🙂
I was just acquainting myself with some of your early posts and came across this one.
We, too, have 3 children, and their names suit them wonderfully. Sure, trying to pick a lifetime name for each child was open to discussion between my husband and I, but ultimately, the names were agreed upon. We chose names that we liked and combined them with names that honored the memory of relatives who’d passed away.
We are blessed with:
Avshalom Joseph (AVI)
Adina Meriam (ADINA)
Noam Itamar (NOAM)
Hi Pearl! How very fun to hear from you on my very first post! Thanks for sharing your story and children’s names. They’re lovely and I’m so glad that they suit them well. That’s what we all hope for, right? BTW, how funny that we both used “Adina?!” 🙂