As promised, I'm going to address some questions from your comments. I'll start with an easy one today.
My friend Wendi asked me what I would have named the boys if they had been girls.
Owen, no question, was going to be Julia Marion Campbell. Julia struck me as a classic-beautiful name. You could be Senator Julia or Doctor Julia, but you could also be an artist or a chef, or anything you wanted to be. Marion was my Grandma Neuhaus's name. (It's odd---I just mentioned her the other day here.)
When Owen became Owen, we put the name Julia to rest. It didn't feel right to give that name to any other girl, even the imaginary girl we never had. We wanted to start fresh with our second pregnancy, and started anew with the name possibilities.
We had decided on Joel some time ago as the possible boy name. The night before the ultrasound, I told Paul, "We need to talk about girl names."
He said, "Why don't we just wait until tomorrow? That way, we'll know if we even need to bother."
My heart clenched a bit and I replied, "No. We have to do this tonight. If this baby is a boy, then we'll never, ever, ever, get to talk about baby girl names EVER AGAIN." (You must forgive me. I knew this was most likely our last pregnancy and my hormone-laced emotions were running a bit high).
"Okay," he said. "What names do you have in mind?"
I had come to this conversation prepared. Boy names were much easier to determine because we didn't want to saddle a boy with an unusual or complicated name. Consequently, there were just less of them out there. Owen came from John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany, and Joel came from:
A) The Bible
B) Joel McHale, host of E!'s The Soup,
C) Kate Goesslin, who named one of her "Plus Eight" Joel.
You can decide which option is the truth.
Anyway, my point is that boy names are easy. Now, girls, on the other hand....there's so much fun and fluff and beauty. Looking at a list of girl names is like standing at the counter at Tiffany's. There's so much loveliness, but the decision is meant to last a lifetime. How does one choose? How can one argue that an emerald is more beautiful than black pearls or a perfectly cut solitaire? Likewise, how can one choose between a Rachael, Riley, Penelope, Amelia, Cara, Olivia, or Jane?
Because I knew that the choices were almost overwhelming, I had pre-selected the names listed above as the choices. Paul was okay with this.
I started with, "What do you think about Rachael?"
Paul snorted and said, "You mean like from Friends? No."
I actually wasn't thinking about Friends at all. "Hasn't that show been off the air for like, ten years? What about Penelope? Penny?"
"Next," he said.
"Isn't that a boy's name?"
"What about Cara?"
"You can't name her Cara. Cara Campbell has too many C sounds."
"Well, I guess it's Olivia, then," I said. "It's from Shakespeare. And, she could be Liv. Or Livvy. But, never, ever Olive."
"Olivia Campbell. That would be okay," Paul said. "Are we done talking about this now?"
I don't mean to paint Paul as uncaring or heartless. He just doesn't believe in wasting energy in hypotheticals. Any conversations about the future names of future children, or even pets, for that matter, are swiftly ended with, "We'll deal with that when we deal with it."
Since the ultrasound revealed our Joel and not an Olivia, we never picked up where this conversation left off. Nevertheless, I like the idea that in an another life, we would have had our Olivia Marion.
Perhaps there's an alternate universe where Bizarro Paul and Nancy raise Julia and Olivia. Perhaps those people wonder about their ghost children---Owen and Joel, the boys they never met, yet, strangely enough, would recognize as their own.
By the way, perhaps we dodged a bullet. Owen and Olivia Campbell? I would never, ever, ever, get their names right. As it is, I'm calling Owen "Paul" at least 60% of the time.
Have a burning question for me? Leave it in the comments, and it may be the future blog treatment. Serious or silly, have at it!