What’s in a Name?

Names. Names. Names.

Tyler, Jason, Ashley, Sarah, James, Elizabeth…the list goes on. And on, and on, and on, and on.

It is perhaps one of the most exciting parts of having a child. Picking a name. And it’s not just picking a name, but picking an identity. The name that a parent gives his/her child will be the primary identifier for their entire life. Put “baby name” in a Google search and you will find over 4 million websites. Some people pick family names. Others pick very unique names. Some choose the most popular name in the nation for that particular year.

Like any parents, my wife and I have discussed many, many possibilities for our child. Many names are met with a, “Ewwwww…really?” Others with an, “Oh…no, I knew someone with that name and (insert bad story)”. And honestly, compromise is out of the question. Both parents have to find a name they both enjoy. It’s probably the number one word that will come out of our mouths for the next 18 years. After much debate and browsing, we’ve settled on our two names.

For a girl: Ryleigh Jean
For a boy: Parker Nathan

Ryleigh (and its variations Riley and Ryley) is a unisex name. But in our case, it’s being used exclusively for a girl. Really, we’re not really sure why Ryleigh. We just like it. Ryleigh (that particular spelling) is the #305th most popular name for girls. Of English/Irish origin, it means “rye clearing”. Runner-up choices were Ashtyn and Reagan.

Jean was pretty straightforward, as it is the middle name of my mother-in-law.

Parker is also a unisex name, though we prefer it for a boy. Again, we don’t have a particular reason for Parker (though I argue should it ever move to Boston he will be called “Pah-kah”). Parker is also of English origin and means “protector of the park”. It is the #108th most popular name in the United States. Runner-up choices were Connor, Colin, and Reese.

Nathan is a family name from my side. Typically given to the first-born son, it is the middle name of myself, my father, my grandfather, and so on.

So there you have it, Ryleigh Jean and Parker Nathan. Thoughts, feelings, observations?


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