In a couple of short months, I will have made one of the biggest decisions of my life.
It's not whether or not to get married. Or taking on a new job. Or even deciding to try for a baby.
This is next-level important stuff!
Naming my first-born child.
I tell you what, the weight of responsibility bearing down on my husband and I at the moment as we contemplate what syllables and sounds will make up the identifying marker for all time for our little human, is getting pretty heavy!
I have to admit, I'm pretty pleased with the name my parents gave me. Sarah means 'lady, princess, noblewoman' in Hebrew (according to behindthename.com). While I may not always live up to its meaning, I've loved its simplicity and how easy it is to spell and pronounce. Of course, it was a little common at school – I was never the only Sarah – but it's never bothered me.
In an ideal world, I'd like our offspring to feel the same way about the name we choose for them. But how do we do that?
Do we just go with what we like? But if we do that, there's the inevitable question of 'Why that name' that must be answered. I'd love to have a really deep answer for them.
"It's a family name, because we wanted to honour our grandparent/uncle/aunt and keep the name in the family."
"It's a name with deep biblical roots, therefore it must be more godly than all the rest."
"The name means xyz which is really deep and special for us because of this life experience...."
There's always the option of choosing the name of a favourite character in a novel or movie. But... given that the movies we enjoy trend towards animated style, I doubt our future sprog will appreciate the whimsical names like 'Arial' or 'Stitch' or 'Nemo'. Even names like Harry, Hermione, Gandalf, Gollum and Frodo just won't do for us.
I've also consulted my parents on the matter. Particularly as they're in the teaching profession, a very important question was not 'So, what names do you like?', but rather, 'What names bring back memories of children you'd really rather forget about for the rest of your life?' I'd hate for our child to be a trigger for traumatic memories!
The name is important to think about for the future too. Sure it might sound cutesy and very baby-suitable now...but what about when they're a grown human, trying to be taken seriously? I'm not sure Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow thought about that when they named their child 'Apple'. That said, the strategy of looking at a food item or other object in the room and using that as a name seems pretty straightforward at the moment... Futon has a nice ring to it, don't you think??
I've also been thinking about middle names. See, middle names are important for when you plan to get the child's attention in future. So they know when things get serious. I knew my parents weren't joking when I was addressed as Sarah KATE Lieschke (with that emphasis!). Or what about a name you can say over, and over, and over again as you nag your child for the umpteenth time to pick up their blocks and set the table for dinner? (See, I'm all prepared for this parenting business! Getting ready for the important moments!).
And finally, whatever name we choose, we MUST run it through the insult checker. Try and come up with any and all insulting nicknames we can think of, using the first name, middle name, surname, initials and whatever else comes to mind. After all, kids can be so cruel, yet so creative!
It's a good thing there's still a couple of months before the next mini-Urmston arrives. Plenty of time to keep weighing up the options and trying out some names. And while not everyone will love it (or hate it) it'll be a choice we've taken seriously.
And, if Futon doesn't like it, they can always change it by deed poll later on in life!
Sarah Urmston is based in Melbourne and shares a 5x7m flat with her husband, Stephen. She works with RMIT Melbourne's Christian Union group as an apprentice, and loves the privilege of sharing Jesus with the students. Since beginning student ministry, her desire – nay – need for coffee has grown exponentially.
Sarah Urmston's previous articles may be viewed athttp://www.pressserviceinternational.org/sarah-urmston.html