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The long-awaited, much-anticipated name announcement…

For New Year’s Day, I thought I’d finally do the “big reveal” on the baby’s name:

Emerson Abigail

Now, for the rest of the “Emerson” story…

We actually picked the name “Emerson” back in June, shortly after we confirmed that L was indeed pregnant and with a single child. We opted for selecting a first name quickly because we really liked the idea of referring to the baby by his/her (at the time we didn’t know) permanent name.

Why? I don’t know — perhaps, it made the pregnancy seem more tangible.

Of course, we didn’t know the sex of the baby. But, because we wanted a name (rather than two possible options), we turned to the lists of unisex names. In theory, I philosophically prefer the concept of a non-gendered name anyway. For example, when Emerson eventually applies for a job, her gender will be less (or not) obvious on a resume or curriculum vitae. That seems like a good thing to me—less of a chance for bias.

We scanned the list of unisex names and both agreed—immediately and without hesitation—that we would, in fact, be the parents of an “Emerson.” It fit us (and our imagined offspring) like a glove.

Emerson isn’t a family name. Emerson isn’t based on the transcendentalist poet, Ralph Waldo (though it is a happy accident). Emerson also isn’t based on the low-cost consumer electronics firm either (though it’s a funny suggestion that I’ve used in response to the inevitable—at least in our circle of acquaintances—transcendentalist poet question). Finally, Emerson isn’t exclusively a “boy’s name” (despite what some post on the “baby name” message boards… my message to those people: opinions are like assholes — everybody has one and nobody is especially interested in yours).

Emerson is simply a name that we fell in love with because it’s somewhat unique but not strange (largely unused today for boys but rising in popularity for girls), has a strength about it (which I’m sure any daughter of ours will exhibit too), and somehow it just fits us / our family (which all of our closest friends have recognized immediately upon hearing the selection).

As for Abigail…

There was less magic here.

While we immediately loved Emerson, we sort of agonized (for months and months) over a middle name until we finally came to a decision yesterday. We had originally thought about using a middle name that started with “M” as that’s the same middle initial both L and I share (Margaret and Michael, respectively). However, L wanted to avoid family names (including her own), and I wasn’t too pleased with many of the other “M” options (aside from maybe Marlowe or Mae). Other options we considered included Eleanor / Eleanora, Olivia, Grace, Avery, and Aubrey.

In the end, we settled on Abigail. Like Emerson, it’s a strong name (I tend to think of Abigail Adams amongst others). It has a classic and timeless feel. It’s obviously female, remarkably common these days, and suitable for many nicknames – all good points just in case Emerson doesn’t like “Emerson” (or our thinking behind it) as much as we do. And, it sounds good in conjunction with Emerson and our last name (which is also pretty WASPish).

So, Emerson Abigail it is…

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4 responses so far

4 Responses to “The long-awaited, much-anticipated name announcement…”

  1. Myndion Jan 4th 2010 at 11:25 pm

    I think the name is beautiful and unique without being weird. :) Abigail is one of my personal favorites, probably top 5. And like you, I want to avoid family names, which is unfortunate because my absolute favorite boys name is Jack (overdone, I know), and my mother’s name is Jackie…so it’s out. I digress…great selection! I love it and I’m sure she will, too. Will you post pics when she arrives? I can’t believe she’s almost here! You must be chomping at the bit. ;)

    As a side note (a very important one), thank you so much for your posts and your support. You have no idea how much it has meant to me.

  2. Paulon Jan 5th 2010 at 11:32 pm

    Jack is a great name. Had we not gone the unisex route, we’d played around with Jackson for a son (which would have been a moot selection anyway). :-) Yes, I will most certainly post photos when she arrives. As for chomping at the bit, I think I’ve already split the bit into two, and I’ve moved on to clawing at the walls.

    As for your side note, I only wish that I could have done more: something to really help. You know? In my own mind, words (and actions, I suppose) seemed so inadequate and unfulfilling. But, at least you hopefully know that others, like me, really do care and felt some small degree of what you were/are feeling. Maybe that makes the pain of it all a little less. I sure hope so.

    I really do believe that things will work out well in the end. You’ll get the baby you’ve dreamed of having. This is just another bus stop en route, my friend. Yet, I also know that doesn’t make the frustration, anger, sadness, or questioning (why this? why now? why me?) any easier now. Hang in there. Libby and I are cheering you along the way!

  3. Sueon Feb 2nd 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Congratulations on your child. The name Emerson means “Son of Emery” all names that end in “son”, mean “Son of”. It is not a unisex name. It is a boy’s name. Would you name a boy a name that meant “daughter of”? Would you name a boy Alexandra instead of Alexander. I know my opinion means nothing but my son is named Emerson and even though I loved the name, had I had a girl I would not have named her Emerson anymore than I would have named her Richard. But I guess it’s cute to name girls with boys names, not the reverse because the boys would get beat up all through their lives.

  4. Paulon Feb 2nd 2010 at 5:07 pm

    @ Sue —

    You are right. Your opinion, while interesting, is irrelevant.

    We’re well aware of the “son” suffix as historically meaning “son of.” However, patterns of language usage–just like social conventions–change over time. And, while ‘Emerson’ is certainly somewhat less than common, it’s fairly well established as a social custom–based on actual usage rather than personal opinion–to now utilize ’son’ suffixed names on girls (e.g., Madison, and Addison). Moreover, in terms of social convention, it would have been more ‘radical’ for us to actually use the name ‘Emerson’ with a boy… because it is, indeed, clearly becoming established as a “girly name.” To wit, I hope your (Emer)son doesn’t suffer any ass kickings. ;-)

    By the way, I suspect you’re one of those people opposed to split infinitives? For the record, I think “to boldly go” is far better than “to go boldly” (nor, might I add, am I opposed to dangling participles or starting sentences with conjunctions). That’s right, I said it.

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