what’s in a name?

or, more specifically, what’s in my name?

talk of names has been a topic of conversation lately because, well, you know, but it turns out i didn’t know the full story of my own name.

that story starts off unexpectedly as my arrival was three months early. with a 5 yo (brother G) and a 2yo (sister J) already running through the house, my parents didn’t have much time to sit and discuss names, especially at such an early stage in the game. needing a name (pronto!) not only because the NICU nurses asked about it, but because my mom was afraid i wouldn’t fight to survive if i didn’t have a name, my parents opened the book of baby names and found the first one they liked which also happened to be on the first page.

abigail.

because i was so tiny, they’d call me abby because it was a better fit and when i became president, i could go by the more official name of abigail.

this i knew, but my middle name was the story i hadn’t heard. seeing as i was a wee tot (weighing in at a mean fighting weight of 2lbs 6oz), my mom felt i needed a name to ground me to the real world, to tie me to someone who loved her and would do anything to keep her alive.

she gave me her name.

and that’s the story of how i became me, or well, how i came to wear such a name.

how about you? how’d your name end up on you? were your parents considering any other names? what about nicknames? any usual ones? unusual ones?

 

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18 Responses to “what’s in a name?”

  1. adriana (@adicloud) Says:

    Awww. What a sweet story! So glad you had your mom’s name to help you!

    • abby mumford Says:

      i know! i was surprised to find out this story. i mean, how did i go so long without knowing this?!?! oh, the things you don’t know you don’t know until you know them.

      • Emily Says:

        Yeah, didn’t I bring it up at one point saying I was jealous of your middle name?

        • abby mumford Says:

          i think it was in that discussion that mom told me about my middle name. and then sister J chimed in with her displeasure at not having a familial middle name. at least you have that! :)

  2. Nikki Says:

    My name story: I was originally supposed to be named for my mom’s grandfather, Alexander (feminizing it to Alexandra I would assume), but my dad’s side of the family (according to Mom) considered that doing so would be playing favoritism for one side of the family over the other and didn’t allow her to do so. Knowing my dad’s family as I do, I can see why she capitulated; it wasn’t worth the fight, especially since I was the first grandchild for everyone.

    Thus, I was officially named Nicole, but everyone called me Nikki because it just suited me better as a kid. Only family calls me Nik (and I had one BF that liked to do so as well), and even though I use my full first name on business cards and the like, I’m still Nikki at heart.

    Mom did get her way with regard to my middle name, however. She gave me the name of her maid of honor/my godmother, and I’m happy about that.

    • abby mumford Says:

      names are so fascinating because everyone has an opinion about them, case in point, your mother’s and father’s families. i’m glad your mom won the middle name, though! i mean, after carrying you for 9 months, she should get something, right. ;)

      and i hear you on the nicknames. i don’t always respond when someone calls me abigail because abby is my name! either that or i giggle at the formality of being called abigail. good times.

  3. Karla Nellenbach Says:

    as the story goes, my mother originally wanted to name me after a guitar playing pussycat (old peeps will know the name i speak of)…however, my grandma and aunts intervened when my mom told them of her plans, especially considering the middle name she’d picked to go with it. they all said it sounded like something you’d call a cow….so mom settled on what later became my name, but just to be contrary, she spelled it with a k instead of the standard c…thus my story.

    ps…im kind of glad she got outvoted on the original name, not because it was horrible (which it kinda is) but because both my brothers have J names and she’s always calling one by the other’s name and then getting flustered and telling me never to give my kids names with the same starting letter. good advice mom. good advice, in deed.

    • abby mumford Says:

      judging from the parents i know and me myself trying to remember all my nieces and nephews names, it doesn’t matter what letter their names start with — the names will all get jumbled together. not to mention, my little sister and and i have names with different beginning letters, but they both end in a “y” which is apparently too similar because everyone gets our names confused!

      i love the story of your name, which started out a horror story and ended up with a happy ending!

  4. Grandpa Says:

    I hadn’t heard the part about your first name before. That’s a good story. I do remember well when you were born – so small and early. I also remember when your parents brought you to Michigan in June that year. You were still small but OK. Love Grandpa

    • abby mumford Says:

      actually, in comparison with the rest of my family, i’m still small/short! i guess some things never change. and i’m happy to share some news with YOU for once. :)

  5. Dan Says:

    The name my parents had picked out for me was Julie!!! ironic huh? (married a Julie for those that don’t know)

    But since I turned out to be a boy.. I got the reciprocal name of my dad!

    • abby mumford Says:

      so you’re saying that when you married julie, you fulfilled your parents’ life long dream. what a good son you are!

  6. briaq Says:

    Wow, that’s a GREAT story. And you’re such an Abby to me. I’d never call you Gail LOL

    It’s beautiful, strong, traditional but not outdated and classy.

    • abby mumford Says:

      actually, some of my college friends would randomly call me gail — to annoy me. just like my older bro and and sis would call me abigail — to annoy me — when we were younger.

      now, both names make me giggle. :)

  7. Rachel Says:

    Hi Abby, I found your blog through endless searching. I just wanted to say as a fellow preemie, HEY! :) My sister and I were 1lb each and were named Rachel and Leah because…my parents liked Leah and my name Rachel was in honor of my mom’s grandmother Regina. My dad actually called me Rebecca a few times while in the NICU because they were between Rebecca and Rachel. I don’t have a middle name**long story** and my sister Leah was Leah Beth in honor of my dad’s mom Bess. Unfortunately my sister passed away soon after we were born.
    I’ve never been anything much other than Rachel, although sometimes I get Rach from friends and Rachy from my mom and grandma.

    **Long story of my middle name = I was told my name was Rachel Leah and Leah in honor of my sister. I signed everything this way, etc Rachel Leah ____last name____. When I got to the DMV to sign my driver’s license at 17 or 18, the DMV lady at the desk said I had to erase my middle name/initial. I was confused, lol, and told her so. Apparently…my parents had never legalized my middle name. I ran home to tell my parents they’d given me an identity crisis and I no longer knew who I was… LOL, Was I even Rachel anymore? After that-I ended up going through a phase where I gave myself a new name every week of senior year. Some days I was Queen Elizabeth, other times I was the name of every single wife of Henry the VII’s. Most of the time I was Rachel. :)

    Its nice to meet you & I look forward to poking around your blog more :)I’m also from boston!

    • abby mumford Says:

      I’m grateful your endless searching led you here! And a fellow preemie! It’s nice to “meet” you. The story of your middle name is a fascinating one – legal or not, the middle name of Leah is a wonderful way to honor the memory of your sister. And I love how you’d choose a new name each week during senior year. It’s a wonderful way to figure out your identity!

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