I have a thing for names. I don’t know why, but I love thinking of names for things and people and stuff. Probably because I’ve had such a contentious relationship with my name. (Which is Alyssa, by the way. Real name, not screen-name. I fail at privacy on the internets.)
My name came from a newspaper. Seriously. My parents had decided that if I was boy my dad would name me and if I was a girl, my mom would. But apparently everyone thought I’d be a girl, so no boy names were chosen. Then again, no girl names were chosen either, so I’m left to assume that my mom was expecting a puppy.
I was a few days old and my parents finally stopped calling me “the baby” and decided on Alyssa. Because my mom had read a story about a girl named Alyssa and her dad in the newspaper.
Which I’ve heard is Greek for “Loyal.” She seriously was expecting a puppy….
First off, I’m not even sure how my mom knew that my name was pronounced “Uh-LIS-suh”. When I ask her, she rolls her eyes at me and says, “How else are you supposed to pronounce it?” Well, MOM, according to nearly everyone I’ve ever met, it’s A-lee-see-a, A-lee-shuh, Uh-ly-see-a, U-lee-sy-uh, Al-lish-uh…the list goes on and on.
Secondly, my mom has no memory of the story that prompted her to name her child. NONE. The story could have been about ANYTHING, even something horrible. I have some sort-of-namesake out there and I have no idea who she is because unlike the loving mothers who record their child’s every movement and taped their children’s fallen off umbilical cord in baby books, my mom was too busy spooning up military hospital jello and breastfeeding to remember what the article that prompted her to name her DAUGHTER was about. (I kid. She’s appropriately sentimental. But still, come on, lady! No memory whatsoever?)
Anyway, I always hated my name growing up. No one knew how to say it (coupled with a last name missed pronounced which made for some irritating first days of school) and there was NOTHING with my name on it. All those little girls named Sarah and Amanda that had pencils and t-shirts and keychains with their name on them? I HATED them. Why could I have fun pencil boxes with my name on them and highlighted by a background of dancing dolphins? Where was MY bicycle license plate with my name proudly below our Texas logo? (I know. My childhood was hard.) The first time I saw something with Alyssa on it, a stamp with a dancing bear figurine as the handle, I squealed and then demanded that my mother buy it for me. I was 14.
Ironically, my name is now #20 in the nation for most popular baby name. And STILL people say it wrong…
The easiest way for people to know how to say my name is to say, “Like Alyssa Milano.” Which can be irritating because people assume I was named after her, even though she’s not that much older than me. I just say no, or ignore them outright because it’s easier than going, “No, I was named after some random girl in a DC newspaper who probably went on a rape and murder spree with her dad and my mom saw the article and thought, “Aww, Alyssa. That’s pretty….” (See how much pain this has caused me, Mom?)
However, her name did lead me to have the nickname “Alyssa Mulatto” in high school. (Cause I am.) Yeah, friend Michael is still proud of that one….
Anyway, names are a bit of a thing for me. I kept lists as a teen of the names Dean Cain and I would bestow upon our offspring, doodling “Sydney Marie and Sawyer Thomas” on the teal pages of paper from my Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper. I carefully chose names for characters of every story and play that I’ve written, attempting to make sure they had the right fit and conveyed the character appropriately; it might be a crap story but the names were awesome.
Jethro and I toss out names for our hypothetical children all the time, although I’ve had to veto several because they remind me of children that I worked with at the dance studio. OR, I know they are crazy popular because we had several at the studio – so no Sophia’s, Sophie’s, Emma’s, Ava’s, Eva’s, Mia’s, Madeline’s, Madison’s, Addison’s, Katelyn’s, Kayleen’s, Caitlin’s, Kalynn’s, Kyle’s, Jayden’s, Hayden’s, Reagan’s, Sadie’s, Avery’s, Isabella’s, Bella’s, Olivia’s…
Maybe we should have boys.
Which I’d prefer anyway. I’ve asked Jethro to put an order in to his swimmers, also with my request for red or blonde hair, but he refuses. He also hates when I refer to his sperm at all, but also when I call them swimmers. Especially in public.
So, moppets, let’s talk real names. How’d you get yours? (Even if you don’t share it.) What were your favorites growing up? Don’t tell me your future children’s names, because then I’d feel guilty for not telling you our top picks for our future children. (FUTURE children, y’all. Don’t start rumors.)
Cause they’re gonna be a secret, possibly until we have them. Along with the sex of the baby. Mostly because I know it’ll drive my mom CRAZY… (Should have named me Jennifer. Jennifer’s aren’t so cranky…)