What's In A Name?

My parents are very bad at naming children. This isn’t to say that I don’t like my name, or that I don’t like my brother’s name, but it is to say that my parent’s contributions towards either of us ending up with the name that is on our birth certificate are more minimal then one might expect.

My little brother was named by a nurse. I was named by my mom’s friend Cari. In both cases mom and dad couldn’t quite agree on what the name should be, and it got to the point where any decision was better than the empty spot on the hospital paperwork.

I felt like the only appropriate pic for this was of the fam.
So uh, here is my family.
Mom liked unisex names. She wanted to name me Max or Frankie or something else that sounds like it would fit in fairly well at Rydell High. Dad was more in to Biblical names; Rachel, Sarah, Rebecca, Leah- reading a list of his options was basically just reciting the Avot V’Imahot.  They wanted to name my little brother Micah, but thought it would get confusing with our grandfather Michael. They had learned after they failed to consider the implications of naming me Jordan, with an Uncle Gordon.

Jordan is a Hebrew name (surprise, surprise!) that means to descend or flow downward. This flowing meaning (get it? PUNS!) obviously has to do with the Jordan River, which is a hugely important geological landmark in cultural and religious history.  It’s the water that sustains and also divides the region that we call the Middle East. It’s solved conflicts and caused them. It nourishes lands, and nourishes people. It’s not a half bad namesake.

I like the idea of names conveying meaning. That Latin roots and Hebrew lineage and family tradition can add up to some strange amalgamation of a being. Of course, naming is more of a hope and a guess then a science. Parents don’t know what their kid is going to grow up to be from day one, but they can hope and guide, and drop subtle hints in the form of the thing that child is going to be forced to write on top of every school paper for the rest of their lives.

I know names aren’t everything, but it’s interesting to think how they fit the people we become. I was never one of those girls who had a full name of possible future baby lists picked out by age 10 (or by age 21) but it’s fun to think about in the abstract sense. Also, I can use all those names for characters in stories, which feels like way less pressure.

True, my name isn’t as metaphorically symbolic as say, Remus Lupin, I think it fits fairly well. I’m no river, but I attempt to nourish in the ways that I can. 

My parents might be bad at naming, but I think we ended up all right. 

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