Wednesday, December 08, 2004

What's in a name?

I have been surprised that, from the very beginning of my telling folks about this adoption, some nine months ago, their first question was most often, "So what are you going to name her?" First of all, it completely discounts the fact that this child will have already been named. Also, it assumes that I could name her without ever having met her.
Of course, I've got my "list of names." Almost every gal I know has this list in her head or on paper somewhere. It's the list of what you will name your "Someday Coming Child" (if you haven't ever heard this song by the Innocence Mission, it's worth seeking out). When I was in middle school, my future child names were Hillary and Lance. No joke.
Then I went through that period where you want to name your imaginary children after someone meaningful in your family--perhaps a grandmother or something. But as I mined my family names, I came up with stuff like Johnnie Mae, Amy, Roy and George. Nothing to get too excited about.
Then, in college, I got serious about it. I actually started writing down names that I heard that resonated with know, just in case. But it was always girls' names. Never boy names. And one by one, I had to start crossing them off as my friends had babies. Leah? Gone. Georgia? Adios. Annalea? Too much like my goddaughter, Anne Olivia. Oh, and while I'm at it, I guess I should cross Olivia off the list too.
But as this adoption thing became more and more of a reality, I had to start thinking seriously about what name I might want to give my daughter. A few names rose to the top of the list, and then finally, a favorite: Gilda. And for months now, I've been settled on it (if, of course, I meet her and it fits).
Gilda. Little Gildiska. I was happy with it, even if my mom was less than thrilled. And when I was at home for Roy's funeral, I got a bunch of vaguely disapproving, "Oh...that's different," type comments whenever I'd answer the always-asked "What are you going to name her?" question. But still, I was sticking with Gilda.
Until last night.
I learned yesterday that part of the paperwork I'll be doing when I'm in Russia next week will be filling out the forms that will give my daughter her American name(s). It suddenly became so damn real. Such a massive responsibility. So last night, I decided to revisit my list. It's on a piece of well-worn yellow paper, written in at least 4 different kinds of ink. I was staring at it, thinking about all the names on there (there are about 25), when suddenly, a name came out of the blue at me. It just popped into my head. It's not on the list, and it is perfect. And I'm not telling a soul...not even my mom...until it's a done deal.
I can't wait to introduce her to you!!

1 comment:

Karla said...

Aw no fair!!!! I wanna know now! I am kinda glad you changed your mind about Gilda. It sounds too old, I think. But then, Karla is a hooker/bar maid/heroine addict's name, so what do I know?