I find the stats that the Social Security Administration (SSA) releases on baby name trends to be fascinating. I love looking at the names that were popular in the 1980’s (the decade God decided I should grace the world with my presence) compared to the present day. I vividly remember having a lot of little girl friends who were named “Crystal” in elementary school. We lived in Grand Forks, North Dakota at the time so maybe a lot of the mothers having little girls were fans of the TV soap Dynasty but whatever it was I have never known so many Crystal’s as I did when we lived there. Curious about this insignificant detail I decided to look at the top names the SSA has recorded for 1980 – 1989. Crystal is listed as number 20 which is based on the number of Social Security cards that were registered with that name; in case you were wondering 140, 989 little girls were named Crystal during the 80’s.
Now let’s look again at Crystal but this time look at the spelling – you have Crystal, Crystel, Krystle, Krystal, etc. There are so many different ways to spell a baby’s name. When we decided to name our daughter, “Kendall,” my husband and I had a long discussion on how we would spell her name. I, always wanting to be different (I mean really, I do go by the name “Bert” even though my given name is Elizabeth), wanted to spell her name “Kendyl” while my husband liked the traditional spelling “Kendall.” He said that my spelling of the name reminded him of a pickle. No one’s going to argue with the imagery of a pickle now are they? I think not thank you very much. We also named our oldest boy, Brennan; that could have been spelled “Brennen.” So my question, does the spelling of the name change the “personality” that’s associated with the person who has the name? No, a rose, if by another name would still be as sweet; Shakespeare was right about that one.
My given name, “Elizabeth,” has such a formal, classy persona attached to it; people see my given name and place me into a category. I don’t consider myself to be formal or classy which is why “Bert” seems to fit better than my given name. My mom hates this; she calls me “Beth” and had always wanted a little girl named “Beth.” Thinking about this always makes me feel a little guilty. I mean how would I feel if my daughter chose to go by another name? I’ve had her name picked out since I was 13 years old. Would a rose still smell as sweet?
Whether we choose to use an obscure spelling of a traditional name (ahem, like Khloe) or a popular name (anyone know a ton of Jessica’s like I do?), our children will have the final say in what they are called. We can choose a name but the name doesn’t make the person after all, a rose if called by any other name would still smell as sweet, don’t you think?