I had always thought that when it came to picking names for our children that Mike and I would always tend towards a more “traditional” name for a boy and something “different” for a girl. I’m not sure why I had thought that. Maybe it’s because I subconsciously thought that a boy with a more traditional name would be taken more seriously later on in life, and that that kind of thing didn’t really matter for a girl (not the most progressive thinking on my part, I know). Or maybe it was because Mike has a more traditional name and mine was different. My name is odd enough that I was in college before I met someone with the same name as me. Since then, I’ve run into a few people that share the same name as me, but it’s still not very common. When we’re out in a crowd and someone yells “Mike”, you can look around and see 5 guys named Mike looking around to see if someone’s calling them. I’ve never had that experience with my name–if someone yells it, they’re calling out for, well, me.
When I got pregnant this time, it took Mike and I awhile before we had The Name Discussion. The time before that, we had been discussing names and then we lost the baby, so I think we were a little hesitant to give a name to a child we might never meet. Although that’s how our cat got his name–Mike’s favorite boy name was Forrest, which I couldn’t stand. When we got a kitten 2 months after I miscarried, I immediately suggested Forrest, knowing that if we used that name for the cat, it would be out of the running should I ever become pregnant again. For awhile we even referred to him as Forrest the Cat, Not the Kid. Certainly nothing to joke about, but it helped me to deal with everything that had transpired–I always turn to humor, it’s just that sometimes it’s a rather dark humor. Now we just call him Forrest, or Forrest the Cat, or F the C. As a side note, he’s adjusted rather well to Maggie’s presence in the house. He’s calmed down considerably, although he’s still really playful.
Once we did start talking about names, there wasn’t a girl’s name that we could agree upon without any reservations. Out of all of the names we had discussed in the past, none was perfect.
A few months before Maggie was born, Mike and I were talking about names one day and one of us suggested using one or both of our mothers’ names as a way to honor them. Mike’s mother was named Margaret, but went by Peg or Peggy. My mother’s name was Cynthia, and always went by Cindy. Since we had always discussed more “non-traditional” girl names, it had not even occurred to us up to that point to use their names. I immediately vetoed Cynthia/Cindy. I felt that I would have trouble with calling our little girl by my mother’s name–it just didn’t seem right to me. I also didn’t want to put my grandparents or father in that position either. Using the name Margaret was a different situation. No one ever called Mike’s mother Margaret; it was always Peg. So even though we had agreed on Margaret as a first name, it was still a little too stuffy for us to use all the time, so we decided on Maggie as a nickname. One of my mother’s very good friends was named Maggie, so by calling our little girl that, I still felt that we were honoring my mother, just in a different way.
Today, I found out that the Margaret connection goes a little deeper, this time on my father’s side of the family. My great-aunt Margie (whose given name is Margaret, but I had totally forgotten that until I was writing out her name to send her a birth announcement; she was always “Aunt Margie” to me) sent me a card that arrived in the mail today. She wrote a letter to us and mentioned that she loves the name Margaret (after all, it’s her name too!) and also included some details on that side of the family that I had never known, or maybe never paid attention to in the past. It turns out that my great-great-grandmother’s name was Margaret Ann and my great-great-great-grandmother’s name was Margaret Elizabeth.
I’m thinking that we definitely made the right choice by choosing a name that’s more traditional, and more rooted in family. Margaret is the perfect name for our perfect little girl.