Someone (who lives in Gulfport and her name rhymes with Honda, but I’m not sayin’ who) emailed me to ask about how we picked the new baby’s name. (Not that many of you are leaving questions and comments… Lurkers! Lurkers I say! Oh, fine. Just email your questions then… )
The name Saralyn came to me in the middle of the night a few months ago. It was 4 in the morning and I sat up in bed and said, “TONY!” (See, he just loves it when I wake him up in the middle of the night. Unexpected shouting is right up there with slyly pressing my cadaver feet onto his warm spine. Ahhh, love…) “Tony! The baby just told me her name!”
“HUm? Narf? Well, what is it? ”
“Saralyn. Hey, I like it. Is that S-A-R-A-L-Y-N or S-A-R-A (SPACE) L-Y-N-N.”
“I don’t know,” I said. “She’s a baby. She doesn’t spell.”
And then we spent a few weeks refrigerator testing the name. (You know what I mean: you hang the idea on the fridge where you see it every day to determine whether you really like it.) It started to feel right. But it seemed like a single, first name. I also justified SARALYN as a spelling because it has seven letters – just like ELEANOR. Equitable. No chance later in life to hear, “You love my sister more! She got more letters in HER name.” (Kids bicker over the weirdest stuff… My father always came unglued during long road trips when my sister would complain “She’s looking out MY window!”)
I woke up in the night again some weeks later with the middle name AVERY. Same scenario (the cold feet and so on). We agreed that we liked the name, but, in the long run, Saralyn Avery just wasn’t working for us. It didn’t seem right. That and my dad said, “Avery? You mean like the computer label people???” Eventually, we chucked it.
Soldiering on, we kept up the search. Tony likes the idea of family names, or variants of names in the family. Turning to his family tree for inspiration, we saw that Margaret was a name that came up again and again, and we liked it. Choosing a spelling has been an issue. We settled on Margaret (as opposed to Margret – like Tony’s aunt in the gulf coast) because I wanted it to be a standard spelling. The poor kid is going to be saddled with this made up first name – Saralyn – that no one is ever going to spell right the first time, so the least I could do was get her a standard middle name.
And there you have it: Saralyn Margaret.
To be sure, it’s hard to decide on the name of a second child. After all, you picked the one you liked the very best in the world the first time. You then take every name you see, and compare it to one you selected for the first kid. But that first child’s name is now totally tangled up with all the laughs, kisses, cuddles and the rest of the bonds you’ve shared. EVERY name seems like an empty shell in contrast. One just has to get in there, pick a name, and start filling that name up with a new batch hopes and experiences.
Speaking of looking through the family history, today we noticed that Tony’s grandmother Mary was born on October 31, 1906. Saralyn and her great-grandmother will be born on the same day – 101 years apart. Now that’s pretty neat.
Say, Mary is a nice name. Since my feet are pretty cold already, I think I’ll gowake up Tony and see if he wants to consider a new name….