Parents are pretty private about their baby names.
Jeanne Sager: Hit up a mom bulletin board when you're pregnant, start mentioning a moniker, and people clam up tighter than Spartacus' shiny suit. The fear, of course, is that their name will be "stolen," and their little Nevaeh will be forced to attend school, gymnastics and music class with five other "backwards Heavens."
Maybe it's because my we weren't quite sure "who" we were going to be having, but if anyone asked our names, I shared them. I even joked with people that I'd better not end up with twins -- because our "boy name" and "girl name" did not go well together. (Or rather, the nicknames -- Jack and Jill -- went together a little TOO well.)
And then she came along: Jillian. By then, we were shouting it from the rooftops. "Would you like to meet my daughter, Jillian? Yes, Jillian is here!" Since I am a columnist for the local newspaper, my moment earned a special birth announcement -- and soon the entire county knew my baby's name.
As a result, I walk through town and people stop me to tell me about the Jillians in their lives. A secretary at the county offices I called regularly as a reporter would ask for updates because her granddaughter's middle name is Jillian. A rotating postal clerk gives me regular warnings on what it's like to raise a tween-aged Jillian. And when an old high-school friend became a dad, I heard about it first via a mutual friend who was excited to report that there was another Jillian in the world.
It's the sort of thing that makes other parents cringe. My mother holds fast to the belief that she chose the name "Alex" ahead of the trend in the '80s, but she's still not happy that it became an "it" name in the '90s. There's even a trend these days to legally change baby names because they don't fit -- or (yes) are just not unique enough.
But even though we're happy to report there aren't 50 Jillians on the playground (we tried to make her name unusual but not weird, and we've succeeded), I can't help grinning every time I hear there's another little Jillian out there running around. It's like a special club: "Parenting Jillians" -- and I'm the president and secretary.
I'd like to think that I'd feel this way even if we had Jillians coming out our ears.
|Jeanne Sager is a mom to Jillian and a writer from upstate New
York. She's strung words together for Babble.com, Kiwi Magazine and AOL's Holidash, and she shares her award-winning weekly newspaper column on her blog, Inside Out.