family, latvian

What’s in a name?

Have you ever wondered about your name?  How did your parents choose it?  Is your name one of the “top ten” of your birth year?

Each of our children is blessed with a unique Latvian name.  The oldest shares his name with a Disney character and a popular 80s tune.  He does not like either.  Kids at school tease him, he handles it well.  I prefer to dance wildly to his 80s hit, he scorns my existence.  E has a number of cute nicknames, Elle Belle, Jana, Belle, El, to name a few.  Entering preschool she decided to shed the main nickname and asked the teachers to call her by her full name.  Example?  Em for Emily.  What determination and personal conviction for a little peanut!  Call her “Emily” at home, no way, it’s “Em”.  Save Emily for when trouble arises.  Our littlest, as some may remember, is our RV.  He shares his wonderful name, although with a Latvian spelling, with a Hollywood character.  So often when cheering his successes, whether counting, singing a tune, or potty progress, we often erupt in enthusiastic R chants.  Very reminiscent of the movie counterpart.

Like most parents, the selection process was much like the NFL draft.  Round after round, we narrowed our choices.  Actually this is not true for our first born, we  fell in love with his name while honeymooning in Latvia.  In fact, we did not have a girl name.  We were that sure.  Our daughter’s name came from an early 1900 Latvian names day calender (or here).  Her middle name was agreed upon much earlier, so when I found the old school name and combined the two, insert light-bulb moment.  Then came little R.  His shocking addition entered us into a nick-picking draft for the name.  We knew from the day of the positive test that this little bugger deserved a strong, independent name.   Returning home from church one afternoon, my dear husband had a spark in his eye and said, “what about “R—-?”  Another bulb, different kid.  Done.

Flash back to the 70s.  Do you remember the popular female name during this time?  There it is at number 1, Jennifer.  I longed to be a Jennifer.  Elementary school was full Jennifer’s, multiple Jennifers per class!  Jennifer + my maiden name…  In my young mind, the combination was like hot chocolate and marshmallows, just melted together harmoniously.  To escape my brother, I would hide in my closet, flashlight in hand, writing Jennifer in swirly print over and over.  The more I wrote it, the further into dream world I fell.  What a warped world I made for myself!  Me a Jennifer?  NO way!  I’m a Julie, or Jules to a few.  And I cannot imagine being anything else.

Is there a story behind your name or nick name?  I would love to hear it!


2 thoughts on “What’s in a name?”

  1. I wasn’t named after anyone. Mom just plucked “Ellen” out of the air. I’m still called “Eller” by a few, “El” by family and a couple of friends but my all-time favorite nick name (Ok, I gave it to myself as a teenager) is “EB Beautiful.”

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