Monday, July 21, 2008

What's in a Name?

My teen helper for Vacation Bible School was a fifteen-year-old girl named Amanda.

From Tuesday on, we had a five-year-old girl named Amanda in our class.

My daughter's name is Amanda. When she would come to my class at the end of the day, there were three Amanda's spanning 10 years in that one room.

Teen Amanda said, "I've never been surrounded by so many Amandas!"

Amanda had to be Amanda D. for first grade, because there was another Amanda. She's moved away, and I'm not sure if there is another Amanda in her grade right now or not.

I picked her name because it spanned generations--it sounds equally appropriate for a regal old matriarch or a newborn child. I later found out that teen Amanda is named for her great-grandmother, but I found it interesting that she perceived her name as uncommon (or at least not ever common enough to be surrounded by two more in one room).
I like that.

Uncommon, yet not unusual. It was another thing I was striving for, and I seem to achieve it. You never know with names. A friend of mine named her son Cole in the late 90's, and suddenly there were Cole's everywhere.

My parents claim that 50% of all girls weren't named Jennifer when they picked it for me, but the truth is a girl was born between 1968 and 1975, there's a good chance that her name is Jennifer. In my fifth grade class, there were four of us. As a member of a large adult Sunday School class (over 50 families), there were five of us! It doesn't seem to be quite so popular here in New England for some reason.

And I like my name. I long ago got over the fact that I would not be able to find personalized shoelaces or souvenir magnets on the rack since all the other Jennifers had already snatched them up.

What I do find funny is that the time will come that I will have an old lady name much like my great-aunts (or grandmothers) whose uncommon names announced their age--Eula, Merle, Opal, Addie. In 2040 when we are all gray-haired grandmas, I'll feel sorry for Kyle's preschool classmate named Jennifer who will be in her 30s, but stuck with the name which ages her before her time.


Katrina said...

Cute about all the Amandas! I agree that Amanda is a rather "timeless" name.

I've never been able to the personalized shoelaces (or mugs or anything else) either, but not because they were snatched up... just because there never were any "Katrinas." NOW my name is well-known, but only because of a natural disaster several years ago.

We wanted uncommon (but not weird) names for our boys, and I think we got them. Camden occasionally complains that his name is *too* uncommon, but I'm hoping that as he gets older he appreciates it a little.

Oh, and I've known lots of Jennifers in my life, but you're my favorite. :)

Dianne said...

I've always bemoaned the fact that, thanks to one extra "n", I've never been able to find personalized items either. But I never thought about people like you who couldn't find them because they were so popular!

Cute post!

Anonymous said...

I wanted to change my name as a child because all the Martha's I knew were super old (over 60). Then my husband's good friend at his first job was also dating a Martha at A&M. I don't run into too many others but I have grown to like my name.
Martha the roommate

Dad said...

Considering that you were named at one in the morning as we drove to the hospital, I think we did pretty well. Jennifer Renee is better than Kevin Ross (which you were for several months). How quickly we forget that we did not have the sonar grams that tell us the sex.

Beck said...

Ha! My son has an EXTREMELY unusual name, according to the popularity charts, although he actually knows several old men with his name, which changes his perception of it. Instead of being a weird name, it's a name that old guys have.

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

I have a cousin and sister-in-law each named Jennifer and knew many other Jennifers throughout school. Jennifer and Stephanie - the two most common names when I was growing up. At one point there were 2 of us in my class (of 60) and several in the grades below me. All that to say, I understand your inability to find those personalized doo-dads. = )

Heather @ Not a DIY Life said...

I was born in that time and my parents' second choice for me was Jennifer. Heather was more popular after I was born, but there were never any other Heathers in my class. I like being unique!

Melissa @ Breath of Life said...

Melissa was a popular name when I was coming along, too...though I never knew too many. My girl's name is a little unusual (as you know). She doesn't know any and neither do I. We shortened it from my husband's grandmother's name, and recently discovered that there are 2 great-whatever's in my family tree with her name. It's a name that will do her well all her life. I tried to give her a name she'll love her name at 20, 40 & even 70...unlike so many trendy names there are out there.

I love Amanda, too. Timeless.