Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back to Father related thoughts

I think I've done a poor job of talking about fatherhood. A big part of this blog was intended to focus on that, and it seems I just haven't paid it the attention I should in writing at least. So while the next issue might not qualify as fatherhood thoughts, it does relate to my little girl.

What's in a name? I've found when people ask me my daughter's name that there is a good deal I can tell about the person pretty quickly. There are two standard reactions. The first is "oh, that's a beautiful, unique name" sometimes followed by I knew a girl in school with that name or some other reference. The second is "What was her name again?" followed by the uncomfortable "oh that is an interesting name". It's rather comical at times to see this play out. I could care less either way whether or not someone likes the name, but it does give me initial insight that I might not have had before.

It's not like we weren't aware of the possibility or had thought about it. Bronwyn is Welsh, literal translation is 'white breast'. Also based on Welsh lore, it is a form of Branwyn, who was a Welsh goddess of Love and Beauty. It's also unique enough without pushing the boundaries too far, in my mind at least. During some rough spots relationship wise (pre-marriage), I dabbled in a lot of Welsh/Celtic history and mythos and Branwyn stood out during that time. (Hey some herbal cigarettes, college, and alcohol plays a large role in 'spirituality' during those days). I was definitely predisposed to that name from that period and some favorite books I had read as a child, many years later when my wife and I were talking about potential names before pregnancy, she mentioned an affection for that name. Given my affection for coincidences, it seemed like an easy choice and it was.

If you've met my daughter it doesn't take long for you to realize that Bronwyn is a great fit for her, regardless of how you felt prior to meeting her. Does that mean it was destined? No, it's probably more a result of her environment and our guidance that may or may not be shaped by our predisposition to the name. Anyway you slice it, it's worked out.

So getting back to how people approach it at times, I do realize that it can be cumbersome in some circumstances for her and us. Bronwyn has a formality to it, that doesn't truncate very well for casual circumstances. Having a preference for Michael, I'm acutely aware of how it shapes perception for me if I utilize that or here people call me it. Mike is casual and while not my preference, I recognize the benefit of having something less casual to us. So I wanted to find something for Bronwyn like that. Hence discovering her nickname.

A nickname in my opinion needs to be something fun, with a bit of a story. It should be casual but not cumbersome, meaning it really shouldn't have a negative connotation for the person it's assigned too. (Yes, I know I think too much). From her birth I recognized we were going to need one for her. During her colic period, one night working to calm her down and get her to sleep it came to me and 'boof' was assigned. And to date it's stuck, when I need to be casual with her it's Boof (also modified to Boofster, Boofy, and others) and when I'm in a more proper dialogue it's Bronwyn. Now whether it will continue past her toddler years I have no idea, but it fits, so if you hear me referencing Boof, now you know what I'm talking about.

Oh the clever story for her nickname? I explain it in the following way, when she was a baby, it was the sound she made when I dropped her... Boof. Now, I'm happy to say (and relieved) that I have in fact never dropped her, although during those colic spells , I think you might try anything to stop the crying.

The nice thing about it in retrospect (besides the colic's over) is that we wound up with a positive out of a difficult situation. Although strangely enough people that aren't familiar with the story look at me just as funny when I refer to her as 'Boof' sometimes you can never win.


Monica said...

Great commentary--we have some interesting names and nicknames in our family as well, and you're so right about people's reactions. My niece's nickname: Bahnoo (Bah-knew)

Michael said...

Thank you, any good story behind Bahnoo?

wendy said...

great post- In grade school my nickname was Neutral, given to me by my 5th grade teacher (nice). Monica can attest to this. In highschool it was Chinky. As life progressed, Loser, Stupid and Ho have stuck. No good stories behind these names unfortunately.

Michael said...

You've got a whole stable of nicknames :). Neutral I can definitely see. Some of those are definitely umm a bit negative, did you like them? I've had a fair share of nicknames given, most I hated and were mean spirited.