Naming our Son

Growing up, I always wanted to be a writer. As early as 10 years old I wrote short stories where I’d create characters based off of my friends and myself. I had a name book that I’d spend hours searching for the right name to encompass my character’s personality. My name was Molly- a sweet and caring girl with deep thoughts who loved people. Molly seemed to fit the portrayal of myself at that time.

So it may be the writer in me or it may be the girl who always knew she’d be a mother, but I’ve thought about naming my children since I was a child. I’ve gone through many phases in selected names though many have stayed on the list for many years.

I have kept this list for a long time, adjusting it as my opinion changed or I found a new name I loved. When I became pregnant, this list became very real. When I found out it was a boy, it became even more real.

My criteria for choosing  changed somewhat over the years. In the Jewish tradition, you name your children after a family member who has passed away. You don’t choose the same name, instead you use the same starting letter. For my parents, this was easy. My grandfather had died 7 years before I was born and 4 years before my brother was born. Both my brother and first cousin are named for him. He played an active role in my parents life. In naming me, they actually bent the rules. I was named after a character in a book. 9 days after I was born my great grandmother, Dora passed, so they always claimed I was named for her to save face.

It’s not that easy for me. My grandparents all passed when I was very young. Not that it didn’t impact me, but they weren’t part of my adult life. And there was someone else’s opinion to consider now. My husband’s.

In his Italian heritage, there’s strong repetition of names. So you’ll hear big Joey and little Joey, big Michael and Mikey. I was never a fan of juniors and my husband didn’t seem to be married to the idea.

I wanted my son to have a traditional name but I still wanted it to be unique — I didn’t want there to be a ton of kids in his classes with the same name. In addition, I had a hard time picking names that I associated with people I know, and more than that, a lot of my friends already had kids and had selected names that were on my list. I didn’t want to duplicate.

I didn’t know many Dylan’s growing up, or many people who named their kid Dylan. I always liked the L sound in names (hence my fictional name, Molly) and truth be told, in terms of personality, I’m sure 90210’s Dylan McKay’s attractive wholesome bad boy image was in my subconscious (what can I say? I grew up in the 90s). Dylan was at the top of my list but my husband had to weigh in. I wanted this to be our choice.

I gave him my list to start from. It wasn’t long. I also suggested some names after some of his music idols. We got it down to 2 first names. Eventually, we landed on Dylan Bowie after David Bowie, one of my husband’s favorite artists. But after my son was born, my husband had a change of heart. He decided he thought his name would make a better middle name. So we somehow reached the perfect name for what we wanted for our child.

And so far, it seems very fitting and my intuition tells me that he’ll be happy with the decision we made for him when he’s older.

In honor of the legend, the man we almost named our son for.

2 thoughts on “Naming our Son

  1. I struggled to find a fitting name for my children. My oldest son I wanted to name Ethan. My Husband want to name him after himself so Ethan became his middle name. I wasn’t a fan of naming my son the same as his father but after his father passed when he was only three, I was glad he has the name he does. What caught my attention in this article was your beginning paragraph; I was very similar in childhood. I wanted nothing more than to be a writer and my characters resembled and still often share a great likeness to the people who surround me.


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