I remember being little and not liking my name. I wanted a fun name, a name that could be shortened for a cute nickname, a name more like my best friend Chrissy. At the very least a name the had meaning. This is my identity after all! I am the youngest of 4 and each of my siblings was named after a favorite relative. So I often teased my mom that I guess they ran out of relatives they liked, and she would assure me that was not the case. She would always say you were named after one of bridge clubs daughters and to me this just seemed too random. Not the kind of story you wanted to share when asked in school to write about the meaning of your name. I knew my mom played bridge once a month when we were really young with the same group of women, but beyond that I didn’t see the big connection. As our lives got busier, the bridge games stopped, and I never heard much more about bridge club. Or my namesake’s mom. I eventually got over it or maybe I guess just stopped asking about it, but I definitely never liked it.
When I was pregnant with my oldest and going through baby names books, I remember having the name conversation again with my mom. She shared how it always made her sad that I didn’t like my name. “Well I was named after some random person!”
My mom laughed. “I wish you would have met her. You would have understood.”
“But Mom, you didn’t even really know her.”
“Maybe not, but I knew of her spirit. And I knew that is exactly wanted I wanted for my baby girl.”
My mom shared how her bridge friend’s daughter, Janet, was in high school when they used to play bridge. And according to my mom, she was absolutely adorable and full of energy. She would bounce into the room with this huge smile and say hi to all the moms. She was always so full of life. She seemed to have an endless amount of happiness and seemed to take everything in stride. When she entered the room, her positive presence was felt.
With my first born growing inside me, I had such a new appreciation for my name. I loved hearing the simple hopes and dreams my mom had for me…to just be a kind person…who could ever be upset with that? Certainly no one named Janet.
What is the meaning of your name? Chapter 1 of Onward focuses on knowing ourselves. I love this video that shares Siaka Massaquoi’s story: That Moment That You Learn the Meaning of Your Name. Teachers, wouldn’t this video be a great way to engage students at the beginning of a school year to share the meaning of their name?