Sunday, July 10, 2005

A Rose... (or a Violet, or a Hazel)... By Any Other Name

I have been naming my children since I was about 10 years old. Maybe younger. I have always collected names in my head, and made lists of them; first names, first and middle names, alternate spellings and made up last names. I think I bought my first baby names book around age 12, and I distinctly remember sending my Cabbage Patch Preemie doll's 'birth certificate' back 3 different times before finally deciding on the name Vanessa.

It came as no suprise to anyone who's known me for a while that when it came time to name my girls, I had a helluva time.

When Mike and I first found out we were expecting Hazel, I knew it was a girl almost immediately. I don't know how or why, but I did. We tossed around a couple of boy's names just in case, but really, I was totally focused on naming a girl, and by the time I was 2 months pregnant, I had about 10 different lists of names going in my head (nature names, old-fashioned names, androgynous names... I could go on). The boy's name we chose was Asa, which I still really like. The girls names that were at the top of our joint list were Honey (well, that was really only on my list; Mike said it sounded like a stripper's name), Adelaide, Maya (which Mike liked more than I did), Mia and Zoe. We actually considered renaming the dog we like the name Zoe so much. And of course Hazel. When we found out that Hazel was a girl, and my early instincts were confirmed, about 3 seconds after the nurse performing the ultrasound announced "it's a girl," I turned to Mike and the name Hazel just popped out. She was Hazel from that second on, and I can hardly believe we ever considered anything else. She's SUCH a Hazel! She's an old-fashioned beauty, with her little flapper hairdo and her big, brown eyes. She's a quirky little firecracker one minute, and a dumure shy guy the next. She's a Hazel Elizabeth if I ever saw one.

When we found out we were expecting Violet 21 months later, I hoped it was a girl, but wasn't so sure. In fact, for while there, I was totally convinced she was a boy. We never got a definite "it IS a girl," though we had about 10 times as many ultrasounds with Violet as we did with Hazel. Violet was one of the first names I suggested to Mike and he liked it, but we wrote it off initially because we didn't want to seem like we had a baby-naming agenda (as in "both our girls must have botanical names that are also colors"). The other girls names we (and by "we" I mean mostly me) went through included Greer, Georgia, Clementine, Mathilda, Mae, Maeve, and Liv. We batted around boy's names that included Henry, Ronan, Harry, August, Beckett, Milo, Jonas and Owen. The doctors and nurses would never totally stand behind their "we're pretty sure it's a girl" statements, but I had a pretty good hunch, and though we were a little put off by the color combo of Hazel and Violet, we kept coming back to that name. I always pictured Violet as a dark haired girl and said that if she came out a redhead, we'd have to rethink our choice. When she came out with a full head of dark hair (that has since turned auburn, but that's a different story), Violet it was. And, of course, it fits her perfectly. She's a soft little flower, a vibrant and lovely girl, a mellow little blossom blooming under the hazelnut tree. Violet Olivia - absolutely.

Twice last week, I was asked by total strangers what my girls names were. The first time I answered the question, my answer was met with a smile and a compliment. The second time I answered the question, the lady who asked it opened her eyes up wide and said, "Oh! Those sure are... unique!" I just smiled back at her and thought to myself, why would I settle for anything less than unique for my beautiful babes? Hazel and Violet - the two most beautiful names in the world.