Southern Lit & Baby Naming

huckfinnSamuel Clemens (Mark Twain)

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.

 Huck Finn

“‘Ransomed? What’s that?’
‘I don’t know. But that’s what they do. I’ve seen it in books; and so of course that’s what we’ve got to do.’
‘But how can we do it if we don’t know what it is?’
‘Why blame it all, we’ve got to do it. Don’t I tell you it’s in the books? Do you want to go to doing different from what’s in the books, and get things all muddled up?'”

I don’t know what it is about literature that intrigues me so. Everything about it though is just so comforting to me, like an overstuffed couch with a down blanket in front of a fireplace on a cool autumn night. I think that’s why I have always used literature to guide my most important steps.

One area of disagreement for my husband and me has always been the naming of our children. Although we only have two children and one on the way, I have been pregnant many times. During each pregnancy, I would begin the baby naming arguments discussions. I always threw out literary names. Most times I was turned down. During the time I was pregnant with Emerson, many names were suggested. Many! I have her baby book to prove it. On every page, she goes by a new name. The name Emerson, for me, signified my adoration for the great poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson. I probably would not have been so familiar with his work, had it not been for my teaching experience in Los Angeles. I taught at Ralph Waldo Emerson Middle School, and was given the task of yearbook advisor my last year. I used Emerson quotes throughout the yearbook and fell in love with his words. Beauty through words is what I experienced. So Emerson’s name was an easy choice for me. By the time our second child was born, I had no fight left in me for name arguing discussing. So Dustin pretty much named Reese himself. Her name is certainly not literary, but I love it. Of course, now I couldn’t picture her as anything but a Reese. I did want Harper though but didn’t put up much of a fight to get it.

I knew that I was being given another chance to combine my love of literature and baby naming when I found out I was pregnant this summer. I immediately put my foot down and determined that this one would be Harper. I had just finished a summer of Southern Literature, and since I already have a Scout (temperamental little shihtzu), I chose Harper as next best. I just knew it was a girl. But then, something went wrong!

It was a boy! I didn’t believe the nurse when she called to tell me. I was sure she had it wrong. I was having a Harper.  I couldn’t go back to the drawing board with naming again. I just couldn’t!

Dustin has always wanted to use a longstanding family name since we’ve been married. I have never been particularly fond of it. Go figure. The name he has longed to use for so long, if we were to have a boy, has been Ferrin. Yes, Ferrin. A name that you will either love or hate. A name that is so uncommon I had a hugely hard time finding information on it using Google. Dustin and I had come to an agreement that we would use another family name instead, since I just couldn’t get on board with Ferrin. We chose Samuel Baldwin, and would call him Sam. Baldwin is the family name. Samuel is the literary name (Mark Twain’s real name). But as time passed, I became a bit bored with Sam. I wasn’t sure I wanted to use it. I also began feeling a little guilty that I was being so adamant about not using a name that my husband has longed to use. Plus, Ferrin was actually beginning to grow on me (just a bit).

I’m sure my Facebook friends who were “secretly” polled last week think I am absolutely nuts! However, I needed unbiased opinions. I have always needed feedback and affirmation before making decisions. It’s just me. All I needed, was one word of confirmation that I could use a name I had been toying with as a nick name for Ferrin. A friend suggested that I use Finn as a nickname. It almost knocked me down, since I had been privately thinking of Finn. I hadn’t even voiced it to Dustin, because I was certain he’d hate it. So herein lies our troubles. Use Ferrin Reid (both of our grandfathers) and call him Finn or use Samuel Baldwin and call him Sam.

We are stuck. I know that five years from now, I will look back at this post and wonder how I could have considered any other name for my son than the one he will be given. It is funny how people just grow into their name. I know that my little Sam or my little Finn will be just that name and it will fit him perfectly. For now, I’ll wait and let it come to me. I know it will.

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