What’s in a name?

Proper names are poetry in the raw.  Like all poetry they are untranslatable.  ~W.H. Auden

Nicknames stick to people, and the most ridiculous are the most adhesive.  ~Thomas C. Haliburton

The name of a man is a numbing blow from which he never recovers.  ~Marshall McLuhan

These are just a few of the many quotes that I have found about names.  As you might have surmised, we are a little overwhelmed about naming this child.

We thought that we were being smart by waiting until we knew the gender of the baby to start thinking about names, since that way we wouldn’t have to come up with as many possibilities.  But, picking a name out for Baby Boy Hay has proved to be quite a challenge.  

Since Robert is already a Junior, many of you have already begun referring to the Baby as Trey.  For some of you, you feel that this name is already a given fact.  Others of you have been joking about “a little Trey Hay” being in our future for some time.  Others of you have already determined that Trey will be a football star at Auburn.  Well, just to let you all know, the baby has already told me that he HATES the name Trey.  Sorry to disappoint, but the little one kicks me violently anytime that the name is mentioned, so I am officially crossing Trey off the list.

However, even with Trey off the table, there is still the debate about whether or not to continue Robert’s name with the baby.  So, there is the added conversation of what we would call the baby, whether or not it is a good or a bad thing to be given a name that your father and grandfather both have, and on and on.

The other thing to consider is the possibility of coming up with an entirely new name.  If we do that, do we offend anyone by not carrying on the name tradition?  If we come up with another family name, do we offended the other families that we aren’t using a name from?  

Then, after all of these discussions, as if we already aren’t overanalyzing the name way to much, we have to consider possible nicknames and other such things that might go along with any given name.  We don’t won’t our son to be stuck with some awful nickname on the playground!  When you think about it, it really can be mind-boggling!    

So, with all of that said, we have spent countless hours in conversation this week discussing these very things.  Sometimes it has been fun, but most of the time it has been extremely stressful.  I believe that tears have been shed (thank you pregnancy hormones) and bad dreams have been induced.  We haven’t settled on a name just quite yet, but we are trying one out to see how the baby likes it.  It is kinda fun to practice saying this name when talking to the baby and about the baby.  Who know if this name will end up being THE NAME, but for now, at least we have reach some sort of temporary decision.  

What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet



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18 responses to “What’s in a name?

  1. I’m personally not a fan of using family names for kids. This is probably because, of the three children in my family, I am the ONLY one who *doesn’t* have a family name. (Ironically, I’m also the oldest)

    However, I did run head-first into how important names are to family members when I chose to hyphenate my last name when I got married. While still engaged, I found out second-hand (through my sister) that my dad was offended by this decision. As if “Wright” was somehow being lost by the addition of “Baker” to it.

    Of course, the very reason for *adding* “Baker” was to honor my wife’s family *in addition* to my own. I did a bit of crisis control with my dad, and he has come to accept the situation. But I don’t think he’ll ever fully understand.

    I don’t know how much that plays out in naming babies, but it does seem to me that it will at least be good to be aware of what Robert, Sr. thinks of the whole thing. This is by no means to say you should be unduly influenced by him (I did, after all, go ahead and hyphenate anyway!). You’ve already addressed this somewhat in the post, but it bears mentioning explicitly.

    Similarly, you mention the concern about offending the family that you *don’t* use a name from if you use a name particular to one side of the family. That’s more or less how my brother (Nickolas, note the “k”) got his name. After my sister (Ruth) was named for my mom’s grandmother, my dad wanted to name the next child after his grandfather. Balance was maintained. Of course, that only works if you’re *planning* on multiple births.

    As to names that will earn the kid teasing… I’m not sure there’s any way out of that. Kids are extremely inventive when it comes to being cruel. I don’t think ANY name is immune.

    Not that you should listen to me on ANY of this. I don’t even have any kids! But I do find this kind of discussion fascinating!

  2. Tom

    A new couple came to church yesterday with a 10 week old boy. I leaned down and asked the kids name. “Bryson” they replied. I said, “that is a really great name.” Just thought I would through that out there.

  3. Leslie

    One of my parents’ best friend thought I should have been named Ethel. Yes, that would have been Ethel Bethell. Good for you for protecting your little one from the curse of a rhyming name :-). Good luck to both of you!!

  4. Melanie

    Our biggest issue w/ picking a name for a boy was choosing a name that couldn’t be used for a girl. . .which is impossible:
    Camden (never heard it until we picked it)–everyone who knows a Camden–it’s a girl!
    Evan (classic boy name)–yep already heard of 2 girls named Evan. . .

    Girls can be named anything!!! You soon get over it, and just realize that no matter how original you think you are being–so does everyone else who chose that name! Good luck with your quest, don’t stress–once you find it–you will know!! If you are stuck between 2 names–look up the meaning of each, sometimes that helps!


  5. Talae

    Keep in mind that if you name your child something that is really difficult to say, they will probably be annoyed with you for at least the first 1/3 of their life. They will dread every first day of school (middle school, high school and college only make it worse b/c you have more teachers),
    award ceremony, graduation, interview, and new doctors office visit for the rest of their lives.

    🙂 (I like my name now, but it me a really long time to get here)

  6. Shannon

    How about “Trinity” or is that a no-no for a child from a long line of ministers?
    Or maybe Trip? Not nearly as commanding.
    Just some ideas 🙂

  7. Patrick

    I think Kodi or Chris or Todd are good names. What about Tony Frank Lynn Hay–now that is a legacy. Of course the doctor would probably fumble him during delivery, so maybe not.

  8. Nick

    What about Morgan? Morgan Morse Hay Jr.? That’s turning the apple cart over…maybe a little too far?! I think that no matter what you will think of a great name for Baby Boy Hay. I just can’t wait till February!! How old does a baby need to be to eat fat man’s candy?

  9. presbytide

    I feel convinced that you should go w/ something to show off your presbyterian-ness. Maybe (as suggested on facebook) Dipthong or Presbuteros? Damnation? Pre-d? What about a single name with no last name? Like a verb or something… like Warmongerer. I’m just throwing things out there.

  10. Alli

    How about- War Eagle Hay

  11. Janice

    I was hoping “Trey” would be eliminated! Robert and I deliberately avoided those rhyming names when we were naming Robert and Kevin. I’m sure you will come up with the perfect name for Baby Boy Hay!!

  12. thedarkarts

    I know you two will pick a great name! I don’t know if meanings are important (just one more thing to think about!), but I found a really helpful website when we were naming Gabe: http://www.behindthename.com
    Good luck!

  13. emily morse

    hey, morgan! mom told me about your blog and how much she enjoyed reading it so i thought i’d stop by as well. 🙂 this whole experience has to be so exciting! whatever his name ends up being, i can’t wait to meet him!

  14. Tom

    HELLO.?… Is anybody there? I check everyday for something, yet, nothing new. Hope yall are great.

  15. Debbie Morse

    No one will be offended!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Robert / Dad / Grandad to be

    There is only one way to pick a Baby Boy Hay name – by filling in the blank.
    “Tackle made by _______ Hay!”
    “Goal scored by _______ Hay!”


  17. Sarah Hay

    Umm.. am I missing something here? Is Trey Hay out? I think that my Dad really messed up by nicknaming Edward Craig Hay III Craig instead of Trey. Its not too late, cousins..

    “Tackle made by TREY Hay”
    “Goal scored by TREY Hay”
    “Here comes TREY on that pony”
    “Oh, the Lord’s been good to TREY, and so TREY thanks the Lord..”

  18. Karen Velardi Harris

    I would like to first say congratulations on baby boy Hay and is soon (kinda soon) arrival.

    My girls all have names that in some way have a story.. all historical in one or another and that way they can all feel special when they learn how they got there names. Good luck on the naming. I am sure regardless of the name, if he is a HAY he will be an Auburn fan.


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