Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What's in a name?

When I was about 20 weeks pregnant with Katie, we found out, via an ultrasound, that we were having a girl.  Jim's first thought was, "How am I going to keep her from leaving the house wearing THAT?!?"  Before then, we had only briefly discussed names for our baby, knowing that the discussion would be easier when we only had only one gender to consider.

So it came to be that, when I was about 20 weeks pregnant with Christian and found out that he was a boy, we had no list of names that we liked, no pre-selected name that either of us desired.  In fact, now that we had a child and knew many more people with children, especially boys, we found that several names that we DID like were already taken by close friends.  So, we returned to the drawing board to come up with boy names.  For awhile, I wasn't sure we were going to come up with anything in time and we would end up either, calling him something we weren't thrilled with because we needed to call him SOMETHING, or taking home "Baby Boy S" from the hospital, name TBD.  Neither option appealed.

I, of course, had lots of girl names ready, names that we had discussed when we had Katie and weren't able to use for one reason or another.  In fact, I had spent the last 5 years refining the list so that I was all prepared with a wonderful girl's name when we found out that we were, in fact, not having a girl after all.

What we settled on, James Christian, came from several different places.

James
We went back and forth on this one.  Jim is the 4th Scarborough male to hold the name James.  Amusingly, we recently discovered that he is the first to actually be called James.  His father, James Michael, goes by Mike.  His grandfather, James Ellis, went by Buster (it is the Deep South after all).  His great grandfather, James Franklin, the first to be names James, went by Franklin.  Why four generations of his family named their boys James but didn't like the name enough to use it will forever be a mystery to me.

In another interesting connection, my father is also named James.

While we weighed the benefits of maintaining the family tradition with the possible confusion of having more than one James in the family (credit reports, misdirected mail, etc), we decided to keep the tradition alive but choose a middle name that we would use to call him by.  We also both like the name James.

Christian
This name stumped us for quite awhile.  Since his middle name was the one he would be called by, it was very important that we like it, a lot.  We went through a lot of different choices.  He was Carter for several months.  We liked the sound of it but ultimately decided that we were not excited about the fact that the name only means "one who drives a cart".  We really liked Alexander but one of Katie's good friends is an Alex and that seemed strange.  Another problem with coming up with names this time around is that I have been teaching middle and high school for the last 4 years.  In 4 years, I've had several male students whose names I liked but who I would rather not recall whenever I use it.

We thought long and hard about calling him James Erik after my older brother who died several years ago.  I really like the name Erik, I like how it is spelled, I haven't had any students named Erik, Katie doesn't have any friends named Erik, and I wanted to honor my older brothers memory.  Ultimately, we decided that it would be too painful for my family to call him Erik.  I believe we could have used that as a middle name if we were not going to call him by his middle name.

One night, Jim had a brilliant idea.  A compromise that would do everything we wanted it to.  Christian has similar sounds to the name Carter, I've never had a student named Christian, none of our friends have kids named Christian, and Christian was Erik's middle name.  I am able to remember Erik after all.

What we are calling him
We would like to call him Christian.  For the moment, we would rather not call him Chris or any other nickname.  That may change in the future but that is our wish for now.

 James Christian (photo credit Laura Case Photography)

Me with my older brother, Erik Christian, Christmas 2005.

1 comment:

  1. Erik would be very happy :) On the student name thing I hear you. The CRAZY thing. The semester I was pg with Ben. I had a believe it or not Bennett D (not Davis) but it was strange. And no, it was a 6th generation family name not because I just loved this student!

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