Friday, November 6, 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name...

A Chinese proverb says The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.
I began thinking about names today. Somehow to me, a name, The Right name, is truly utterly important. You are labeled with this name, and the very sound of it, the harshness or softness of certain letters, the way it may or may not roll off the tongue with your last name (a whole other blog post), what it rhymes with (curse you penny and henny), it all becomes who you are. Or you become it. Or both, for Life. I had always disliked the way Jenny sounded coming out of my mouth. When I applied it to others of the same name, or someone else said Jenny, I was fine with it; it took on a different sound and meaning. But to me, the cutesy sing songiness bothered me, and the "J" sound was never quite right, for me individually. I knew plenty of other Jennys that were the epitome of Jennyness and I liked them well enough and had no problem calling out their namesake with confidence. Now, perhaps this is my own psychological conundrum to deal with and there are issues deeper than names here but let's not get off topic.
And a name has to fit, right? You have to look like a name. A perfect example is how our dear Benjamin Bekbulat, aka Bek, almost became a Wesley. WESLEY for God's Sakes!! He looks no more like a Wesley than I do an Amber. But before we saw him, Wesley conjured up whatever it was in my mind, and that's the name that appealed to us. Once we saw the picture that digitally traveled to our inboxes from Kazakhstan...it was clear he was not a Wesley, and it became absolutely laughable. And as much as we loved Benjamin and had every intent to call him that, he is now just BEK. I remember telling some family members we were considering calling him this, that we just couldn't seem to transition to Ben. "Bek?? What? That's just too weird. You can't call him that". Is it crazy that people are so opinionated about names? They'll tell you, YOU, you know the You who is going to be the parent, that YOU cannot name them that, and they're all Oh because I knew this kid in school named that and he was a nose picking loser or Oh my friend growing up had a dog named that or Oh that's the name of satan's mythological mistress. And because of these attached, perceived meanings They have with Your proposed name for Your child, you are supposed to change the name and therefore the potential Fate of your kid.
I am glad we didn't. I love the name Bek and we get many compliments (and comments) on it. There'll never be any Beks in his class and like Cher or Madonna he can go with one name and people know who he is! I love that it is his given Kazakh name, for that is all he had! And fittingly, it means STRONG. Whether his birth mom gave it to him or the ladies that took care of him at the Babyhouse christened him that, I don't know, but it couldn't be more appropriate.
We'll have to see what Russia calls our next child to be. We will adopt Russia along with the child just as we adopted Kazkahstan along with Bek. At the very least we'll keep his/her given name as a middle name, because as I already said, it's all they have of their own and important I think. And I don't even dare post what we're thinking about for names anyway...we'll probably be told it reminds them of an old man with bad breath or a crazy teacher they knew in school or somebody's pet parrot or...

2 comments:

jenrieck said...

I enjoyed reading your blog, Jenny. It's ironic to me that you named this post 'A Rose...' since my middle name is Rose. I didn't like Rose when I was very young because I thought it meant arose. My dad would say Jennifer Rose sat on a tack, Jennifer rose.

-another Jenny

Joanne said...

I can't tell you how many people said..."Zoe?" "really?" "I have a pug named Zoe"...good for you, now I have a daughter named Zoe! Geesh! So freekin' annoying people. Keep your comments to yourself right?
Or when we were thinking of Julia it was "Oh, Julia Goolia" I mean, why would anyone say that to someone?