Naming a child

While watching a movie, Christopher will sometimes ask, “why is he named that?” about one character or another. Rather than explain about writers and other people involved in making a movie, I usually just respond, “His parents named him that.”

It’s a big responsibility for us parents: the naming of our children. You want to ensure that your baby isn’t teased during childhood, that he has a respectable name as an adult, maybe that he also has the possibility of a cool nickname during adolescence and beyond.

When I was pregnant with Christopher, Jim and I had the luxury of already knowing what our baby’s name would be. Well at least we had it narrowed down to two possibilities: one girl name and one boy name. We had picked them out 4 years earlier while we were still dating.

Since sometime in my earlier twenties I had wanted a son named Christopher, after Christopher Robin from Winnie-the-Pooh. Before meeting Jim, I had hoped this baby might be a red head, but after meeting Jim, I decided I could settle for a blonde son. Jim didn’t object to the name when I suggested it. He selected the middle name: Jacen (pronounced Jaken, in his head anyway). Jim just told me recently that this was the name of Princess Leia’s son in the Zahn trilogy of Star Wars fan fiction novels. Perhaps I knew that back in 2005, and I had forgotten.

This middle name was short lived because a few weeks after we’d selected this name for our future son, Jim’s aunt and uncle had a baby boy and named him Christopher Jacob. Since they intended to call him C.J., we decided we would keep the name Christopher, but that we should select a new middle name. I don’t remember when, but sometime well before I was pregnant, we decided on Link as the new middle name. Jim is a huge fan of The Legend of Zelda video games. The hero in those games is a young boy, named Link. It seemed fitting that our son should be named after a character we each loved.

Both Jim and I prefer the name Christopher to the nickname Chris, and we’re hoping to hold on to his full name as long as possible. Or if Jim gets his way, that we can persuade Christopher to use Link as his nickname when he starts thinking Christopher is too long or too babyish or whatever.

For now, he tells everyone his name is Christopher and quickly corrects them if they try to shorten it. At his first baseball practice I was filled with a strange sense of pride when he told one of the coaches, “I don’t like to be called Chris.” I know it won’t last forever, but a mom can dream, right?

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