Thursday, June 09, 2005

What's In a Name?

I will not be in to work tomorrow, and therefore this site will be post-free. Dry your eyes, though, I have a good excuse. My second nephew will be born, if all goes according to plan and I must look after my first nephew, Connor (who has many nicknames - Munchkin, Munchie, Germ Monkey, Dirt Farmer, Con Dog, Con Man, and Don't Do That). Connor is moderately excited about being a big brother, but mostly nervous about not getting all the attention anymore. I tried to explain that having a sibling means that when you're a teen, some of the heat is off of you, and that's a good thing, but this leads to a blank stare and a request for a cookie.

Anyway, Connor is a decidedly Irish name, which was the point when my sister and brother-in-law chose it. My sister really wanted a name that would reflect the other side of Connor's heritage, since his last name is Chinese. The name had to start with a "K" sound, because that's Chinese tradition (all the kids in a generation will name their children with the same sound). Connor's middle name is also Chinese (and I'm ashamed to admit that I only recently learned the pronunciation) so that his Chinese grandparents would have a name to call him. As you can see, a lot of Connor's name represents his Chinese heritage. I'll admit it was my hope that they would give Connor my mother's maiden name as a middle name, but alas, no such luck.

My sister didn't change her name when she got married, but there was never any question about whose last name the children would have. For me and my sis, it's just us and our cousins, Chris and Erik, to carry on Pop's name. Chris and Erik are older than my sister and don't appear to be headed to the child department. It makes me sad that our surname might not get passed along. I can't explain why - it's a perfectly common surname, but it's ours and I've never really understood why a woman's surname is any less worthy of being handed down.

When my grandma had my dad, she gave him her maiden name as his middle name, a tradition that I really like, and am subsequently going to recommend to anyone on the fence in the middle name department.

Back to my sister and first names. When they learned it was a boy, there was more disagreement on the name. No one liked Kyle. Kevin is already taken. So is Colin and Christopher. They eventually settled on Cooper, which I like, because I picked it. Cooper is English and comes from the long L'Angleterre tradition of having a surname that represents your profession - Abbott, Clark, Carter and so on are also in that vein. I suppose it's a trend these days to give kids a surname for a first name. My pops does not approve mof my sister's choice. He's decided that he will be calling Cooper "Butchie." I would say he's joking, except that he probably will call him that. Poor kid.

Cooper won't have our family name as a middle name - he'll also get a Chinese name. A few days ago, my cousin Colin had his first child - a little girl, Charlotte. Colin is my cousin through my mother's side and his last name is the same as my mother's maiden name. So, Mom's family name will be carried on. And I breathed a sigh of relief. "Your name's getting passed on!" I said excitedly to my mom. "I know! I'm so pleased." And I completely understood why.

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