Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Name Game

"The tests haven't come through yet?" I asked.
"I can't see them. Hmm. Kirsty Anderson. You're due April?"
 Blah blah 1981?"
"Ah. No. I was born in seventy eight."
The midwife plays around with the computer, and then quickly tilts it away from me. "Oh. There are two of you."
Two Kirsty Andersons, both due at the same time in the not-particularly-large country hospital.
I get a sinking sense of de-ja-vu.
When my Beloved and I rocked up at the (not-particularly-large) hospital when I was in labour with Poppet they nearly sent me away as 'Kirsty Anderson' was already in the ward.
It looks like it might just happen again.
I am feeling very un-unique.
I'm not quite like my brother, who shares his name with three other John Anderson's, and that's just in the family, not to mention the Robert Burns poem, John Anderson my Jo, John, but still, my name is decidedly common.
One of my Anderson Uncles married another Anderson, and my cousins ended up with Kirsty Andersons on both sides of their family. I actually held the other Kirsty Anderson when she was a baby and I was a seven year old. (And nearly dropped her as Superman was on and I hadn't watched anything like it.)
My name is that common.
So once again I'm thinking about names.
I didn't take my Beloved's name when we married. It didn't really seriously occur to me too. I'd have to have, you know, filled out forms and lodged applications and changed cards, and stuff.
Now, when I'm about to be the only Anderson amongst four differently surnamed folk, I'm feeling a little… left out. And as my Beloved's name is a lot less common, every so often I think I would be less likely to have doubles if I took his name. My Poppet is pretty much assured of being the only person with her name she ever comes across. Sprocket and Littlest might come across people with their name, but it's unlikely.
On the other hand, the fact that my Beloved and kids have a different surname allows them a anonymity that I like when it comes to social media. My Beloved is very keen on his privacy (he still has dreams of international sleuthdom) and I try to keep him out of photos and reasonably unidentifiable. If, in later years, the kids dislike having so much of themselves on the internet I find it comforting that when they're older no one will be able to google search and find photos or odd-bits they find intrusive.
But… I still feel a little left out. My girls and I share a middle name (yes, Littlest is already named) Rosa.
And every so often I wonder if when they're old enough to chose we might make that our legal surname. I'm not keeping my father's surname rather than my husbands surname out of feminist reasons, (more laziness and how it rolls off the tongue) and my mother's surname is just her father's name. Tracing back my maternal ancestors showed me just how annoying name-changing female genealogies are. But a brand new chosen name? That would mean something.
I'm not quite ready for it yet (and obviously the kids are far from being old enough to make such a big decision). But I'm pondering. Maybe as a non de plume to begin with?

What are your thoughts on names? The keeping of, the loosing of, the changing of? Have you found it hard with an unusual name, or a common name?

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