Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Name

Steve and I spent a lot of time mulling over what to name the baby. We developed a list of guidelines and spent countless hours tossing around possibilities. Some people care a lot about the meaning of a name, but because most names' meanings seem to be kind of arbitrary, putting a lot of emphasis on a name's meaning baffles me as much as trying to understand why some women choose unmedicated childbirth. Parents probably use certain names because they wish their child to have a certain attribute, like "mighty" or "beautiful", but what does that mean about children whose names are kinda neutral, like "hazelnut" or "tile maker"? (Don't get me started on parents who name their children Lawyer/Winner or have their children start violin and Latin lessons at age 2. Do we need to review how Dead Poet's Society ended?)

We chose Olivia because we think it is a beautiful name without being too juvenile or sophisticated, too long or short, too old-fashioned or trendy. It is familiar but not overused in our neck of the woods. I looked up its meaning just to check before we made our final decision, and according to one source it means "elf army." Where did that come from? No idea, but I am told that elves have a positive connotation in the Lord of the Rings series and heck, we like "Elf" the movie enough to watch it every Christmas. Shakespeare made up the name Olivia, for heaven's sake, so that illustrates how I fail to see the significance in name meaning. But, Olivia also means olive/olive tree and peace because of the olive branch's symbolism. So there. Because we named her Olivia our child will surely bring world peace. Or at least love the olive bar at Wegmans.

Actually, our biggest hangup with naming our daughter this was that Olivia Hussey also happens to be the name of an actress best known for her role as Juliet in the 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet, but we don't think that's a big deal.

Jayne is the middle name we chose, mainly because we like the way it sounded. But for the record it means "God is gracious," and we totally agree. We used the alternative spelling to keep it from being plain and, because it's her middle name, we hope she doesn't have to constantly correct people. "Jayne with a Y." "Janey?" "No, J-a-y-n-e."

So anyway, we didn't use any family names or have close friends named Olivia or Jayne, we just liked the name and that's why we chose that for our sweet little girl.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

COngrats on your new little bundle of joy..
Olivia Jayne is a beautiful name.