Brooke today posted a beautiful piece about her daughter Eliza's name, and it sparked a rather lengthy comment over there, but I liked writing about his name so much that I decided to repost my comment here.
If you care to, please feel free to share the story of your child/children's name in my comments - and I hope I don't offend anyone with the names we decided against.
What follows is my comment:
I apologize in advance for what is likely to be a very lengthy comment.
Otis came to his name in much the same way Eliza did. I am a teacher, and my husband has worked with high school kids doing drama workshops on and off for about 15 years...so we had LOTS of names ruled out for the same reasons you and D did.
Then, also, because we are some of the last of our friends to have children, many of them took some of our favorites. My best friend and I barely recovered when she named her daughter Talulah, a name that I had called "dibs" on back in 1980 when I first saw Jody Foster in Bugsy Malone...we couldn't believe that we hadn't discussed my extreme attachment to that name. (I sometimes still think she is lying that she didn't know.)
So thank goodness we were having a boy, because there would be no Talulah problem.
But we wanted something uncommon, but not crazy-California hippy style (I was also a yoga teacher, so I couldn't do something so predictable as Shanti or Rain or River or Blyss -- not that I EVER would, but still...) I also grew up in Berkeley with a fair share of Rainbows, Sunshines, Miracles, even a Rapunzel and a Vahjeena (seriously.)
So we were at a standstill for a long time. Otis jumped out very early on as a favorite for both of us, but we were kind of surprised that we both loved it so much.
But it held up under all our tests - just like you did for Eliza...We could see him being a rock star or a professor at Yale. Being a very cute toddler and an equally handsome groom at his wedding. Smart, funny, quirky, but also old fashioned. With some soul. We joked about naming him Otis Redding N___ [our last name] but instead settled on giving him my dad's name as his middle name: Allen. My dad passed away three years earlier and I very much wanted to honor him as I named my firstborn.
It was awkward because both of our dogs have O names - Oliver and Oswald - and we never ever wanted to be *that* family with matching initials - and we almost didn't name Otis Otis for that reason - but in the end, we loved it too much.
I listened to lots of Otis Redding through my pregnancy and fell more in love with the name. Every time we got in an elevator and saw the name Otis we smiled.
I have had some of the same sadness, knowing that I never get to have a LIVE Otis. I never get to see his name on a business card, on a diploma, on a speeding ticket, on a mother's day card. I don't get to hear his friends calling for him on the playground. I don't get to hear a girl calling for him on the phone for the first time, giggles in the background, "May I speak to Otis?"
It breaks my heart. I love his name so much. And at the same time, I love that HE has that name. He is none other than Otis.
Now of course as we face the possibility of a second, we are stupefied. How could we ever pick a name as perfect as Otis? (Not to mention that Milo has also always been a favorite of mine, but Milo and Otis? Geez, it makes me gag just thinking about it.)
We have a chalkboard painted onto one of the walls in our home. During my pregnancy with Otis, we kept a running tally of names that we liked, along with some clear joke names as well, in bright colored chalk. All the names are still there: Blaze, Peregrine, Nutello, (all jokes, btw) and right across the middle of the board, in big capital letters, stands OTIS. I don't know that we'll ever erase that board. We have photos of my pregnant belly silhouetted alongside the chalkboard, the biggest spot lining perfectly up with the O in his name.
Brooke, thanks for letting me write this all here, so much of what you wrote resonated perfectly - our perfect children really did have the most perfect names.