My daughter has a very unusual name.
I first came across her name while reading about a glamorous cosmetics magnate in my teens. The name just sounded perfectly rounded in my mind: timeless, classic yet new. I even wrote it down in a diary as a possibility for my future daughter.
When we found out I was pregnant with twins, Darcy and I made a bargain. We would come up with four names BEFORE the ultrasound that would tell us the babies’ sexes. These four names would cover the whole range of possibilities. I would then find out the sexes (as would everyone else, except my Dad) and Darcy would not. Darcy wanted to live the dream of the doctor telling him, “IT’S A (fill in the blank)!” But I needed to prepare.
There was a big caveat for the naming: at least one of the pair needed to be a traditional Hebrew name. We had already agreed on the top name for a boy. It was perfect because although it was not a Hebrew name (in fact it originates from England, as do I) a lot of Jewish men who immigrated to America from Eastern Europe adopted it. The name is a hybrid of many cultures, uniquely American in a way. We both loved it. And it suits my son to a T.
But, oy. That meant if we had boy/girl twins, we needed a traditional Hebrew name for a girl. There’s not that many women in the Torah. My favorite Matriarch name was unfortunately shared by an ex-flame of Darcy’s. (Rebecca, if you must know. I still love that name, but, no. I’ll never forget the time that Rebecca flat out HIT ON DARCY in front of me. I’m NOT MAD. Even 12 years later. Clearly.)
My brother-in-law happened to come over to our condo to watch sports while we were in the midst of thumbing through several different baby name books. It was coming down to the wire: we had a few days left. Someone called my BiL, and he spoke for a while to them. After he hung up, I asked him, “Who was that?” Because I am really nosy. And he answered with that name from my teens, which I instantly remembered. Darcy and I looked at each other and both said at the same time, “I LOVE that name!”
We looked it up immediately. Turns out it’s a traditional Hebrew name and it means “good.”
That was it.
It IS unique. Even though we go to a Jewish pre-school, almost no one (parents, teachers or children) in the class had ever heard the name. I usually have to explain it.
But it fits her seamlessly: she’s a sassafras, she’s feisty, she’s independent and yet she loves everything glamorous, she dreams of living in Paris and is smart as new paint.
I love her so, so much.