Before my first child was conceived in 2002, I knew the names I’d pick: if it was a girl, her name would be Anna, after my great-grandmother. If we had a boy, his name would be Addison, after my then husband’s great-great- grandfather.
Fifteen years ago, he was the only person I knew who had the name and he was dead. In fact, I’d never heard of the name until then.
As my belly swelled people starting asking me if I’d picked out a name, and I wasn’t shy about letting them know it was a boy, and we’d name him Addison David.
“The first name is after his great-great-great-grandfather, and his middle name is after my father,” I’d tell everyone who was in earshot.
“How original,” they’d say.
“I know!” I’d reply, mentioning we’d picked it because it wasn’t common and it was a family name — it was perfect.
A few months before I was due, I walked into a boutique where I picked out striped onesies, footie pajamas, and matching baseball caps and sneakers.
The owner of the shop asked me if I’d decided on a name and I beamed as I told her.
She stopped folding the blue and white checkered button down I’d plan to put on him as soon as he came out of me, leaned forward and said,” It sounds presidential! Addison David. I love it.”
But fast forward to today and you know what the name Addison sounds like? 10 other kids in his class.
His cord was cut and I swear, 15 seconds later, a third of the people who gave birth to a boy or girl named their child Addison, too.
My son went from sounding unique and presidential to common AF.
Gone are the days people compliment his name. Instead, I think I’ve heard people whisper it’s been overused when they think I can’t hear them.
While we didn’t make up the name, I took pride in naming my firstborn a name no one else had, but everyone loved.
I was ultra-proud of myself to say the least.
I can be a brat for a moment and say I wish it was still rare, but it seems that’s the way of the world — you decide on a name for your child and it spreads like a stomach bug. Before you know it everyone is spewing out your child’s name as their own.
It could be worse, I suppose. I have a friend who named her daughter Astrid in the early 2000s (after her mother) when it seemed like no one had ever heard of it, including me.
Then a few years later, in 2010, Paramount Pictures came out with How to Train Your Dragon and ruined it for her. When she learned one of the main characters was named Astrid, I could see the panic in her (and her mother’s) eyes.
Now little Astrids are peppered all over the land because it’s an amazing name and thanks to the big screen and strong female roles, everyone knows about it now.
Anyway, one thing is for certain: if you want your child to have an uncommon name, do it, then watch it blossom and land on the list of The Most Overused Names Of All Time.
And yes, you are allowed to complain about it.
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