Most little girls dream about their wedding day and the princess gown. I leapt ahead to the naming of my children. Talk about putting the cart before the horse!
This post had a part 1 to it, where I wrote about the names that some parents saddle their children with. If I’m going to be really honest, the thought about what I would name my future children started around the age of 16 or 17 – waaay before I was interested in marriage though. I remember well, because while attending the local college, I met up with a girl who I last saw in grade school and she had a name that I really liked.
However, 15 years or so later I ended up choosing something else.
I’m reminded of that time in my life because of a video I viewed recently that featured Uzo Aduba, actress in the hit HBO show “Orange is the New Black”. After telling the audience her full name – Uzoamaka, and it’s meaning – “the road is good”, she went on to relate that time when she asked her Nigerian mother to give her another name because everyone had such a hard time pronouncing the one she was given.
Recently, my daughter (who has asked on more than one occasion whether the name I gave her was my first choice), inquired about the possibility of changing her name. In answer to her question, I unwisely (I see that now) answered that it had not been my first choice and again unwisely, I told her what had been my first pick. Of course, she liked that one better.
The name she was given is short and easy to pronounce – the vowel that introduces her name is short, not long – but some people don’t listen, can’t hear or simply don’t care. Some of them get the pronunciation right, but decide to add on another vowel because the people at the passport office will take it either way.
I informed my daughter that it was possible to change her name if she used a lawyer and went through the courts and she seemed about ready to save up for the expense. But her father wasn’t having it. Neither was Uzoamaka’s mother who said that if people could learn to say “Tchaikovsky”, “Michelangelo” and “Dostoevsky” – they could learn to say “Uzoamaka”.
And that resonated with me. Most parents give their child a name because it has a particular meaning or significance. Surely it’s not too difficult to learn to pronounce a name that someone is given to identify them in this life? Aduba has learned to love her name and says that she wouldn’t change it for the world. Hopefully, after correcting them multiple times when people get it wrong and being patient until they get it right – my daughter will want to keep hers too.