Just ask Madonna/Esther, Stefani/Lady Gaga, Prince Michael Jackson II, known as Blanket, or the guy shown below.
(The artist formerly known as Prince, but unrelated to the Prince known as Blanket...)
One of the more eye-opening lessons I've learned in 2012 is just how powerful a name can be.
The day after we found out that Peanut was on his way, STBX and I drove to his brother's home for a family birthday party. Since I had just received my new Mailbox magazine, I brought it for some light browsing on the 70 minute trip. While looking at bulletin board designs I started rattling names listed on the bulletin board picture to STBX. On a whim, I added one of my favorite names, Jonah.
He nodded, then grinned. "It reminds me of Sleepless in Seattle," he responded. "I like it."
We had a short list of possible names for a long time, but Jonah held its place at the top. I started identifying Peanut as Jonah when we were alone. I even talked to him using his "name" on occasion. Even so, I didn't want to announce a baby name in case Peanut came out looking nothing like a Jonah.
After the life shattering news of STBX's crazy "relationship" with his 16-year-old student broke, I felt lost in lots of ways while being required to make lots of important decisions alone. The decision to name Peanut would now be solely mine, and I didn't just have to choose his first and middle name, anymore.
For 2 solid months I was regularly asked what I was going to name the baby. Each time someone asked, my anxiety level would rise and my brain would go into overdrive. It was a trigger question for me.
I asked several friends for their opinions, and all of them thought that Peanut should only have my maiden name as his last name, especially since I would be returning to it after the divorce was final. My lawyer recommended hyphenating, stating that STBX could bring this issue before a judge, and this would most likely be the judge's decision.
I wavered for a long time, but in the end, decided to hyphenate for a few reasons.
1) STBX's dad and step-mom are incredible and have been so amazing throughout these challenges. I wanted to honor them.
2) It was what the judge would have probably ruled. To me this means that it is the unemotional choice. (Unemotional? Me? Genau.)
3) If I ever get brave enough to remarry, I want Peanut to share a name with members of his biological family, like my parents.
Once his last name was chosen, it was important to start deciding his first and middle.
I knew I wanted to name Peanut after men with integrity who possessed a close relationship with Jesus. I started by looking through the Bible, and then on to names of family and friends. I was telling two friends from abroad about my name dilemma and telling them some of the names in the running. When I mentioned using the names of my grandfathers, one of them shared that she liked that idea because in her religion there is a verse about living up to the names of those before you. (Or something of that sort...)
It felt right.
If Peanut was named after two incredible men, he would have a lot to live up to. Both of my grandpas are/were incredibly loving, kind, funny, intelligent, hard-working, generous men who put their families second only to Christ.
E. Parker West and lots of his family on Christmas circa 1985.
(My cousin, Jamie, and I are sitting on his lap and I think he is dressed entirely in green.)
Leon Reser Jr. and his lovely Annie on Christmas morning 2009.
What an honor it will be to parent Leon Parker in a way that will help him develop his character in the same way.