Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Another Life

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. 
"Too fancy." 
"Too boring." 
"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!


Caution Flag said...

I always have loved the name Julia, and then my sister gave the name to her daughter. It has never seemed to fit my red-headed, silly, sweet niece. Too regal maybe? I do love the name Owen. A beautiful name for a beautiful boy.

won said...

Do I need to tell you I love your choice of a name for a girl?

Didn't think so...

Nancy Campbell said...

won, I thought of you the whole time I was writing this.

Thanks CF, for the sweet thoughts about Owen.

Corrie Howe said...

It doesn't matter what you call the kids, you'll mix their names up. I've seen it in both families and in my own family.

We had really hard time with girl names. We couldn't agree on anyone until Faith Jubilee. I picked Jubilee and Scott picked Faith. As soon as we heard them we knew it was her name.

dek said...

As it is, I'm calling Owen "Paul" at least 60% of the time.

My Grandma K. was mother of seven (five boys) and grandmother to many (all but one, boys). At family gatherings, if she was looking for someone, she'd call names starting with my father (the oldest son) and going down the list until she either got the right one or ran out of grandsons.

Unknown Mami said...

I would have voted for Cara.

Tricia said...

This one made me laugh. Thanks for the encouragement. :)

kys said...

I had a hard time with girls' names but the boys were easy for me. Thanks for stopping by Stir Fry.

PS A Prayer For Owen Meany is one of my favorite books.