Thursday, February 17, 2011

"Say What?"

Choosing your baby’s name is one of the best parts of finding out you’re pregnant. When we found out we were pregnant, we celebrated with dinner at good ole Panera and a trip to Borders to read baby name books. I find it funny when you talk to some couples that are newly pregnant (with their 1st, 2nd, 3rd…whatever) and they want to pretend like they haven’t talked about names yet…you’re lying. Yes you have. My husband and me weren’t even sure we’d have kids and we still talked about what to name children. Perhaps they want to keep the name a secret. I digress. 
We hunted name book after name book. We had long discussions about the meaning behind the name, how it sounded with Jackson, and trends to avoid. Some names we threw out immediately, while others we tossed around for a bit. After all, it’s not like you’re choosing a pair of shoes that your child can change when they learn to tie their laces. This is the first impression for all who come in contact with your child for the rest of their life.
After weeks of discussion, we settled on a name for a boy and a name for a girl. Of course my prayers were answered and we had a girl (see “My Little Ballerina blog post). Selah Marie Jackson….pronounced Say-la. It’s a Hebrew musical term and can be found in the book of Psalms after choir hymns. Although the exact meaning is unknown, some suspect it means “lift your voices in praise.” It’s like the sermon equivalent to “Amen.”
Although the name we chose is beautiful, our daughter will lead a life of answering the questions, “Say what? How do you spell that? Is that a family name?” In fact, her first string of sentences together may just be, “It’s pronounced Say-la, not See-la.” Personally, I don’t get it. It’s spelled S.E.L.A.H. and pronounced Say-la. Come on people!!!!
On one of her first visits to our church, a lady approached to see her. When she asked me her name and I told her, she replied, “That’s my cat’s name!” Thanks lady.
We’ve doomed her for life. She will be the student in the classroom on the first day of middle school whose teacher mispronounces her name. My poor baby. I remember once a teacher thought the ‘y’ in my name was an ‘e’ and asked for Joe Graham. I about died. Looking back I realize how ridiculous it is to feel insecure about such a thing, but in middle school, no feeling is ridiculous….and nobody understands what you are going through.
Her pediatrician’s office spells it phonetically on her chart. Why don’t more places do this? It could eliminate a lifetime of hurt.
Oh my. She will never own a keychain or mini license plate from a rest stop. She’ll more than likely have her name mispronounced at her kindergarten graduation, her elementary graduation, her middle school graduation, her high school graduation, her college graduation, her master’s graduation, and her doctorate graduation. Oh well. At least we didn’t name her after a piece of fruit or something.


  1. Oh my make me laugh until i cry.

  2. My kid's name is Abel. Do you have any idea how many times folks have asked if our next one will be Cain? So original, folks.
    Don't even get me started on being a girl 'Toni' lol

  3. My name is Andrea but I grew up being called Andi. I hated it when I hit middle school, feeling that it was a boy's name. I stopped telling teachers that it was Andi and started going by Andrea in about 8th grade. Now you can gauge how long someone has known me by what they call me. Family and childhood friends call me Andi and friends from college and up call me Andrea.

  4. I can relate. My second son is Rhys....pronounced Reese/Reece...people initially say "Rise". It is the Welsh spelling. I love it...but no keychains out there on the store shelf.

  5. You are so funny!!!!!! But you're right, a name is SO important these days. At least people don't think your SON is a GIRL. Thats fun. THANKS for SHARING!!