Showing posts with label Children. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Children. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

What's in a Name? - Making a New Case for Naming Your Children After Friends and Family Members

(As those of you who are my regular readers know, I used to publish on Tuesdays and Fridays.  On Tuesdays I would "review" pop culture, fashion, food or just life in general, whatever was on my mind.  On Fridays I would review movies and books.  However, these days I mostly review movies and books, and you can still find my reviews and me here every Friday, but once in awhile I am still prone to "review," OK, rant about something I am thinking about and this is one of those days).

What's in a name?  A-LOT!

I've been thinking about this topic for awhile, and it's been nagging at me, so I thought I would get it out of my head and onto my blog so I don't have it nagging at me anymore.  I mean, you know how epiphanies are and this was kind of an epiphany for me.

Picking a name for a new baby can be almost as stressful as planning for the new arrival. 

It's not easy coming up with a name that not only the new parents both love but everyone in the family approves of.  Some new parents-to-be won't even give away the names under consideration so as to avoid early disapproval of parents and loved ones.

I know, because my own mother offered to pay me $100 to NOT name my daughter Ashley.  She thought I was naming her after Ashley Wilkes in "Gone with the Wind," which is not necessarily a bad thing. Not sure why that was an issue for her.  Actually I was naming her after Lady Brett Ashley in Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises."  And before any of YOU smirk disapprovingly, the name Ashley was not yet on the radar as the most popular girls' name of the 1980's.  So now, in some ways, I wish I had listened to my mother.  And $100 in 1984 meant something.

But seriously, I still love the name even if it turned out to be a rather common name in my daughter's age group.

I grew up in a family where bestowing a family name on a child was common practice.  I don't think that is a very common practice any more. Today young parents want to come up with a new name, but I think they are doing their children a disservice, which I will get to in a minute.

My sister was born first and was given my grandmother's - my Dad's mother's- name for her middle name. 

Then my brother arrived and my mother was so grateful to her doctor for getting her through two caesareans that she gave him her doctor's last name as a middle name AND a family name so he had two middle names. 

My brother actually didn't appreciate that at all, but when his own son came along, he gave him our Dad's name as his middle name.


Then when I came along, my mother gave me her name as my middle name.


Both my sister and I had names with "Rose" in it - she was Rosemary, I was Rosellen.  My mother loved roses, I guess. They called her Posy and me Rosy. 


I know...awwww. 

The reason why she was Posy and I was Rosy is lost to the ages.

Rosellen is an unusual name, especial the spelling, and everyone always mispronounced it, calling me Rozelyn, Roselyn and other mispronunciations which embarrassed me growing up so I got into the habit of saying, "Just call me Rosy."  But since my mother loved the name Rose so much and it played such a big role in my family, I wanted to pass it on to my daughter so I gave her that middle name despite the fact that Ashley Rose sounded a lot like a china pattern.

As for my son, I was able to find a name that wasn't as popular as Ashley would become, though Alexander was the most popular name in Europe at the time.  That was fine since I considered myself a bit worldly and since I didn't live in Europe I didn't think there would be a whole bunch of Alexanders.  Likewise, I felt the worst nickname he could get would be Alex which I liked.  Wouldn't you know, though, the mother of one of his friends insisted on calling him Al. Ugh. But for his middle name I wanted to give him a family name.  I would have given him my father's name as a middle name but my brother had already given his son that name, so instead, I combined the names of a grandfather and a great-grandfather.

Unfortunately, my son didn't feel the same way about bestowing family names on his children when his children were born, except for one son who is named after his wife's grandfather. But I understand.  Everyone has to name their children names that they like so this was not something that I pushed on my own children.

Many mothers and fathers like to name children after themselves.  Robert might name his son Robert Jr. or Robert the II and call him junior.  Some people would say naming a child after yourself is a bit of a conceit, honoring oneself like that and maybe it is. But that is anyone's choice. However, I am not actually big on naming the child after yourself just because I think it would be confusing to have two people in the house with the same name. 

Yes, it can be an ego thing to name your child after yourself, a way for you to live on after you have gone.  And that's fine.  I totally get that. Though I am not a big fan of a Jr. or a II or III, I do believe in passing a family name along but it might not be for the reason you think.

I have thought of a more powerful reason to pass on family names to your children or to name a child after a special friend. 

When you name your child after a beloved family member or a close friend, you are actually giving the CHILD, not you, something special.  As that child grows up and you talk about their namesake, the child will feel very special that he or she is named after someone you loved.  You can tell the child stories about the person and the child can then aspire to the accomplishments and characteristics of the family member of the other loved one.

If I had named my son after my Dad, I could have reminded him that he was named after a talented musician (he could play any instrument), a man who loved hot cars, who always wanted to be a cowboy and who was an extremely generous person.  I could go on and on.  I feel that knowing you are named after someone special makes you feel special.

However, my son knows he is named after my mother's Swedish father who was known as "Prince" among his Swedish neighbors because of his proud bearing. He was a fine carpenter who built the home my mother grew up in. 

Because of that Swedish heritage, my son became interested in Sweden, so interested in fact that he spent a college semester there and met many of his relatives who still lived there. I also wanted to throw my own Dad into the mix too, so I combined that name with the name of my Dad's father's father.

I know I felt special that I had my mother's name as my middle name.

and whenever I sign my full name, I think of her and feel good that she wanted to give me her name. 

My first name is from a good friend of my mother's, though the spelling is a bit different.  Every year on my birthday, her friend would send me a birthday card with a dollar in it (back when a dollar was worth something).  I had never met this friend but when my mother reminded me who the card and money was from and why she was sending it to me, I felt very special.  I was one of those kids who wanted to be someone's favorite.  I knew that my sister was my grandmother's favorite, my brother had an uncle who doted on him and so this little gesture from my mother's friend and knowing that I was named after her made me feel like I was someone's favorite too.  Those kinds of things are important to kids and gives them confidence that they are lovable.

So you parents-to-be, don't get mad at your parents if they suggest some family names. 

Give it some thought.  Who in life do you admire who would be a good role model for your child?  Consider bestowing that name on your child - it can just be the middle name - and then sharing that person's life with your child as the child grows, thus giving your child something to aspire to.

And for those of you who have already named a child after a family member, good for you.

But be sure to tell your child where the name came from and who the person was and share the reasons why you named your child after that person so your child will feel a bond to that person, aspire to be like that person and just feel special that he or she has the name of someone you admired.  It's a seemingly small thing, but I think that helps create confidence in children - to know that their names have meaning. 

Lord knows, we all need all of the confidence we can get growing up in this crazy world.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.  I feel better now!

Thanks for reading!


See you Friday 

for my review of  


"The Mountain Between Us" 


The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

 and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before 

 I Die Project."


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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Mom All By Herself on Mother's Day

We all raise our children to be independent.  Well, most of us do, I hope.  We don't want our 35 year old moving into the basement with his Lazy Boy and his 65 inch TV just as we start our retirement, now, do we?

But raising our children to be independent has a dark side for us mothers out there.

I really loved my children and enjoyed their growing up years, but I also looked forward to knowing them as adults and being a part of their lives.  However, we never know how things will turn out and loves and career often take our children far away from us.

My mother had to deal with that.  I moved to California from Michigan the day after I graduated from college.

Off I went, just like that. It was 1970.  What can I say? In those days, everyone from Michigan wanted to move to California.  We wanted to be a part of "The Summer of Love" but didn't realize we had already missed it!

My mother's heart must have sunk when I announced I was moving 2000 miles away, but being the stoic Swedish woman that she was, she never said much about it except the occasional "if you weren't so far away."  I think when I left, my Dad gave me $10. It was a symbolic gesture. Somehow he knew I had it all figured out (he later shared with me that he thought I was so brave to make that move. I could tell he wished he had done it himself).  I was 22.  Don't all twenty-two year olds have it all figured out?

So I lived my life in California, married, had children and only ventured back to Michigan to see my parents occasionally and they would come out to see me when they could.  It was only when I had children that I realized what I was missing by living so far from my Mother and Dad.

My mother spent many Mother's Days without her children.

So now history repeats itself.  My son and daughter both live far away so this last Mother's Day, I found myself alone.  Hubby had to go on a business trip so I was really alone.  But before you point fingers at him, his absence on Mother's Day actually bothered me less than my childrens' absence.  I mean, I am not Hubby's mother (though sometimes it feels like I am)!

But we say we want our children to be independent and have their own lives so we have to walk the talk, and my children are living their own lives just as I wanted them to do.

So when Mother's Day rolls around it evokes all kinds of emotions.  It can be a happy day when your family is around you and paying homage to what a great mother you are.  But for some of us whose mothers have passed on, it can be a sad day.  For many who wanted to be mothers and were not able to be, also a sad day.  And for those of us who are mothers but whose children are not close by, it can also be a lonely day especially when our hubbies are gone too.

So what did I do all by myself on Mother's Day?

First, I refused to be sad.

I spent some time with my mother.

And then I spent some time with my children, because even though we are not physically together, I have them, and my mother, with me always through my happy memories. 




In the end, whether we are alone or with our families, we will always have those memories. 

I was alone on Mother's Day, but in the end Mother's Day is just a day, a day like every other day because every day I think of my children. 

But I am fortunate.  My children, despite their distance, seem to like me.  They keep in touch and we see each other several times a year.  So we continue to make memories. There is no guarantee that if we all lived in the same town that we would get along and see each other all of the time, so I am happy that we are as close as we can be.  And I am glad that they are happy and successful.  Because wasn't that the whole point?

We can't control what will happen to our children, what choices they will make.  We can only give them the wings to fly away and be independent and hope that those wings will hold them up.  And that one day those wings will bring them back (this is totally metaphorical. I don't literally want them moving back in)!

But I felt so strongly about those wings that I had them permanently imprinted on my arm so I would never forget my role (and I was in my 60's when I did it - but don't tell my mother)!

What does Mother's Day mean to me?

It's a great day to honor our mothers and for mothers to think about their children, but we don't really need a "day" to tell us to do that. We can do that any day and we should.  And while our loved ones are around, we should be sure we tell them what they mean to us so we don't have any regrets.  And then when we can't be together, we have our memories which are timeless and eternal.

So on my Mother's Day by myself, I spent time with those memories, reminiscing, remembering all of the fun and the stories and the funny things my kids used to say, and then being so glad I have such wonderful, successful adults. I knew I had done my job.  I had given them the wings to fly away. So instead of feeling sorry for myself, sad and all alone, I felt grateful for my little family.  I had all of those memories to keep me company.

And then I went out and, with a smile on my face, treated myself to a new outfit and a nice Mother's Day meal...all by myself...but not alone.

Thanks for Reading!

See you Friday

for my review of



The Week in Reviews

(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

 and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before

 I Die Project."

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Why Have a Child?

Since I have already taken on the task of answering the questions "Why Have a Husband?" and "Why Have a Wife?" I thought I should also tackle that other hot potato, "Why Have a Child?"

(Now it's time for the little ones to leave the room so that their little ears will not hear something they can't handle).

When you have a child, you will discover new interests, activities and insights into yourself that you never knew existed.

You will realize that you thrive on drama!

When you have a child...

You will attend more sporting events than you ever thought possible, some at 8am on a Saturday morning with the winds from Hell, er, cold winds blasting sand and dirt over the bleachers while five year olds try to hit T-balls.  You will encounter strange sights on the ball field, such as a bored outfielder throwing his glove up in the air and catching it over and over while waiting for a ball to come his way.  It doesn't.

You will realize sleep is over-rated.

You and your significant other will come to the conclusion that neither of you ever really liked talking about books, films, current affairs or feelings.  You will discover that talking about whose turn it is to get up in the middle of the night to feed the baby, which pre-school in the area is the best and what baby's diaper rash looks like today are far more interesting topics.

You will enjoy never-before-heard piano variations of Mozart and Bach played to the sound of a metronome.

You will have new food experiences and discover that Kraft macaroni and cheese and fish sticks are actually really good.  The foodie in you enjoys finding ways to take mac and cheese to new levels such as mixing in bacon or hot dogs.

Interesting fashion choices will enter your life.

You discover that Catherine Deneuve was right when she said that as you age you have to choose between your face or your ass.  Since the baby, you have chosen your face and you actually like carrying around that extra 20 pounds.

You will get to realize your dream of owning a mini-van instead of a Lamborghini.

"Fine!," "That's not fair!," and "So?" will be a regular part of family conversations.

You will reacquaint yourself with the classics of children's literature - over and over and over and over and over again.  "Where the Wild Things Are" and "Goodnight, Moon" will be committed to memory.

You realize that "Because I said so" is the only way to end a "discussion" with your teenager.

You will finally find a way to spend that $200,000 you have managed to save after sweating and slaving your whole life and that is burning a hole in your pocket.  Oh, right, let's spend it on college!  How fun!  Well, it was the dream.


You realize that

You will have some of the happiest and some of the saddest days of your life.


(I don't have any pictures of the sad times.  Why would I?)

Unless you count this, which was written to make all of us parents cry.

(from "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein)

But the main reason to have a child?

From the moment you first set eyes on your child, you will finally know how much you were loved by your own parents.

And if you are lucky you will get to experience the joys of grand parenting when your child, too, has a child. Or two.

You are part of the cycle
of love and life.

See you Friday

for my review of the new movie 
"Mission Impossible-Rogue Nation" 

The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

and the latest on

My 1001 Movies I Must See Before
 I Die Project."

And I will even throw in a restaurant review.

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at