When I was young, I picked out names for my future children. One would be called Megan Elizabeth, I remember. And another would be called Samantha, but go by Sam. Because I thought boy names for girls were cute.

[Still do.]

I had a whole list of names that my friend Nichole and I came up with together, and I kept that piece of paper for many years.

Sadly, it didn’t make it to my adulthood, so when Mark and I found out we were expecting, we had to start from scratch.

[Although I was a big proponent of naming a girl Charlotte and calling her Charlie for short. Because I think boy names for girls are cute.]

Annalyn has recently learned how to say her full name – first, middle and last, like it’s all one word. She says it so matter-of-factly, just as I do when I’m hollering at her to not run into the parking lot or getting on to her for not obeying her daddy. So it’s funny to remember how hard it was to decide on that name just three years ago.

We went round and round and round. We read through several baby books, vetoing each other’s every choice. We (okay, I) scoured the Social Security name database. And we took long and winding tours up and down our family trees, delighting in family names such as “Melvin,” “Mervin,” “Bubba” and “Junior.”

[Don’t tell me you don’t have a Bubba or a Junior. I don’t even believe it.]

See, I felt a lot of pressure for this naming business. As the owner of a name that rhymes with words like “scary” and “hairy,” I know the pain a name can bring a young person.

And then there’s the initials. You don’t want a child’s initials to spell something weird, either. Or be shortened to something awkward. Or . . . or . . . or . . .

So I was a little stressed.

But then. Then! I had an idea. And I loved it. But ohhhh, I was so nervous. I was afraid Mark wouldn’t like it, and then we’d be back where we started.

We were sitting in a restaurant, and I tentatively said, “I have an idea.” Then I wrote it on a napkin and slid it across the table.

Like I was offering him a raise.

He asked me how I thought it would be pronounced, I told him, and he agreed. It was a done deal.

Right. Okay, so there was still much debate and worry and consideration. But that was the name we went with: Annalyn.

I wanted a name that was not common but not weird, and if possible, I wanted to honor our family at the same time.

No small task, but I think we met all those goals.

My great-aunt’s name was Anna, and I’m named after her (with my middle name). Mark’s mom’s name was Marilyn, and while I didn’t like that name for a child, I was excited to use the “lyn” part with “Anna.”

The good news is – besides loving the name we finally settled on for our daughter – that thanks to all our research and discussion, we actually have both a girl’s name and a boy’s name picked out for a future second child.

If you have children, how did you pick out their names? If not, how did your parents pick out your name?

This post will be linked to Kelly’s Show Us Your Life.


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