What’s in a name?
A lot, actually. It’s your identity, how you’re known, how you’re referred to.
My mom has told me stories of all the names she thought about naming me, including Bonnie Blue. Yes, inspired by Gone With The Wind. But it didn’t win out. Beth was also a choice, until my aunt stated that I could someday be called “Big Beth,” (no offense to anyone named Beth, you’d just have to know my aunt) but that wasn’t a solid option either.
She had a dream that she named me Katie Jo. And there it was. THE name.
I can’t imagine any other name, obviously, it’s been mine my whole life. Along with nicknames like Kitty and Katrina…but I love Katie. And I’m just Katie. No Katherine, no Kathleen…just Katie.
When I was younger and in school, there were a lot of Katie’s, some spelled Katy. So I was automatically known as my full name of Katie Jo. And still, to this day, I get called Katie Jo pretty often. My middle name was given to me after my aunt Penny, who passed away five years ago today, from a long battle with breast cancer. She is one of the most special and influential people from my life. It was only she and my mom who witnessed my birth, as my father was not there. We always called her my “dad,” and joked that someday she’d walk me down the aisle. Which would likely have happened, should she have lived to see the day. She helped bring me into this world, helped raise me and my siblings as she never had children of her own, and taught me so many things in life. So you see, carrying on the middle name Jo, after my aunt Penny Jo, is something that means the world to me.
So then I became pregnant. And am now faced with the task of naming my own child. James and I have tossed around many names. I usually make a disgusted face at some of his suggestions, and I’m usually greeted with an “eh,” when he doesn’t like something I’ve chosen (like Arrow for a boy, which, for the record, I’m STILL obsessed with but cannot get the man to budge!). But there’s a top name, so far, for both a girl and boy, that both of us love. Whether they become the final name or not, I cannot say. Indecisiveness should be my middle name. But what I do know, is that a name is so important, meaningful and a HUGE deal! What if it’s wrong? What if they’re teased? What if we’re not paying attention and the initials become A.S.S.?! Ok, so we know not to go there, but I’m a perfectionist, and this naming business has me all kinds of anxious.
My mom’s advice is to go to your back door, and yell it out, because it has to sound good together when you’re yelling at your kids. The neighbors will love me for that.
We’ll get there. And we likely won’t share the name until birth. I just feel that since we’re putting in such time and effort to pick a name we think is perfect, we’d rather spare ourselves from unwanted opinions about a name we’ve chosen. Don’t worry, there will be no awkward spellings or names like #hashtag out of the likes of us, even if we do prefer unconventional names sometimes.
And since I think of her so often, and every time the name Jo is spoken or written, my favorite photo ever taken of my aunt and I. I had to say goodbye to her after spending a few weeks with her for the summer, and, in usual Katie fashion, I cried…what else is new?! (Crybaby was another, more embarassing nickname)…
|Penny Jo and Katie Jo circa 1988/89…doesn’t the hair and blue makeup give it away?!|