My parents named me after Darcy Farrow, the tragic heroine of a John Denver song by the same name. My brother after William B. Travis, commander of the regulars who defended the Alamo against Santa Anna. My sister's name was a favorite from the dictionary.
I don't know about other parents, but I felt a lot of pressure when it came to naming my son. Everyone, even strangers, rang in with their favorite suggestions. His middle name, Samuel, was known with certainty. Finding a first name that was unique, yet not bizarre, fitting of a future Senator or musician, equally masculine and poetic, that flowed with Samuel Cearley, proved more difficult. Momentarily driven by a family pattern connected to the alphabet, Braden was almost Eldridge or Eli. Eldridge lost out when my mom suggested we call him Ridge for short. (I've always believed that you name your child what you wish him to be called, not something you later morph into a nickname. I believe I subconsciously learned this from my step-mom, whose kids are Mandy and John, not Amanda and Jonathon.) Eli haunted me because of a former student with the same name. Being a teacher further plagued the naming process because every name associated itself with another experience. However, I decided to twist the teacher-name association situation into a positive one for naming my son. After much creative thinking, I constructed Braden, who is named after Ben, Rashad, Aaron, Dusty, and Stephen respectively. These students embody the very qualities I want in my son as he reaches his teenage years (and further into adulthood). While we have encountered several boys named Braden since his birth, only one other shares his spelling, and I am certain none came by their name as uniquely as Braden Samuel Cearley.
In honor of naming rituals (and as a belated holiday blog), I bring you today's trivia:
What other names were considered for the red-nosed reindeer before his parents settled on Rudolph?
The winner of today's trivia challenge gets to listen to Braden play "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" on the piano.
And if you're willing, share your naming story with me.