Saturday, August 6, 2011

Cher-ing Names

Over the years many people have asked us about how we decided on our children's names. Elijah was easy. Despite giving Elijah the initials EGG, which was a concern of mine, it came to us pretty easily. When we were dating we had both shared a love for the name, Elijah because of the Bible, and the faithful prophet of the Lord. George is Jelani's father's name, and we wanted Elijah to have two names of noble, faithful, honorable men. And so, was born, Elijah George Greene.

Chastity was much more difficult. During both pregnancies we never had problems coming up with boy names that we both liked, but the girl names just weren't happening for us. We wanted something biblical, but most of the girl names in the Bible, while nice names, are far too commonly used, and we wanted something more original. The biblical names for girls that were original were names such as...well...Dorcas and Gomer. There were others that sounded pretty, but when we'd look up the meaning, they'd mean things like "sickly" or "weak," and we took great care with the meanings of names. We wanted to speak blessings, not curses on our precious children.

Right up until week 20 of my pregnancy with Chastity, we were certain that we were having another boy, and we were set with a name. I had given girl names some thought just in case, but had never come up with one that Jelani liked.

We waited patiently during the ultrasound for the news.

"Looks like you'll be having a little girl!" the ultrasound technician said. Jelani smiled but stared blankly ahead until after the tech left the room. He looked quickly at me, and said, "I'm going to need to take up hunting."

He didn't say much of anything else for a while. We were escorted into an office for the rest of the appointment, and while we were waiting, Jelani was still in shock. He sat in a chair in the corner, clearly lost in thoughts of young men knocking on his door...young men he would have to escort into a room full of weapons and tell "I ain't afraid to go back to jail." A parenting magazine caught his eye with a little light skinned girl who had long curly hair with natural golden highlights.

He smiled. "She could look like that, ya know." He softened a bit, but I could still see thoughts of how he would hide a body of a forward young man if need be running through his head.

"Let's name her Chastity Belt," he suggested, more seriously than you would think.

I laughed, "Well...Chastity can be used as a name, but I don't think Belt is an appropriate middle name."

We went home and did some research. We landed on Faith for a middle name, speaking of how we want her to have a pure and child-like faith in God. And I found that the only famous Chastity was Chastity Bono, the daughter of Sonny and Cher, and I thought, "Well, not many people will remember that. She hasn't been in the news in years."

Jokes on me. Exactly two weeks after Chastity was born, I was doing some grocery shopping and while waiting at the check out I noticed the headline on the cover of that week's People Magazine, "Chastity's Choice: A Sex change for Cher's Daughter." Awesome. Perfect timing. Thanks for that.
Thankfully no one said too much, but it did come up when someone in my family suggested that we nickname our little Chastity, Chaz. That would have been super cute had we not all just heard that it would be Cher's new son's name. Nothing against her...or him, but she...or he kind of stole our thunder, so I was irritated.

I got over it, laughed at the whole thing, and had moved on. One day while taking the kids to the park last year, we spoke briefly to an older gentleman who was there with his son and grandchildren. He was asking the kids' names, and when we told him, he flashed a big smile and quickly said, "Ah, a prophet and a virtue! Wonderful names!" I smiled, and was happy. Here was a guy who got it. He understood the thought we'd put into these names, and he appreciated them.

Only a few weeks later, I was getting my hair cut. Making small talk, Chastity's names came up, and I was explaining how we landed on it. I told her the story about People Magazine, now thinking it was all quite funny. Michelle laughed, and while she continued to cut she said, "It's funny how Chastity [Bono] is the only one that's been in the limelight. Cher has a son too, by one of the Allman Brothers...Gregg Allman. Her son's name is Elijah, but you never hear anything about him."


So depending on the crowd, when people hear of the names of our children, they might say, "Ah, a prophet and a virtue!" or they might just say, "Big Cher fans, huh?"

Now I'm on a mission to have more children to purposely avoid copying Cher any longer.

*Disclaimer: I was going to type a disclaimer, but if I need a disclaimer, then you clearly don't get the point of this blog or my sense of humor, so disclaimer.

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