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The Kid Name I’m So Happy I Didn’t Use

Erin Zammett Ruddy

Do you ever look at your kid and think thank God I didn’t name you ­­­_______? ­­­­­­ Me, too. Here’s the name bullet I dodged.

I always used to say that if I had a girl I would name her Harper. It’s not that I’m a huge To Kill A Mockingbird fan or that I love unique names (I don’t), it’s that Harper is my grandmother’s maiden name. And my grandmother—my mom’s mom, Adele—and I shared a birthday. We were always very close and she always called me her namesake even though her name was Adele Blanchard and mine is Erin Elizabeth (toward the end of her life she would refer to me as Erin Adele and I didn’t correct her). She died three days before Alex was born, the last of my beloved grandparents to be buried and it still breaks my heart that three people I was so so so close with my entire life (my dad’s dad died before I was born so I didn’t know him) never got to meet my kids. It would have been a major, mutual lovefest. Anyway, I always thought it would be cool to give a daughter the name Harper.

But when I was about seven months pregnant with said daughter, we cut Harper from the list. It was a tough decision because I love the name and the meaning, but it just didn't feel right. Ultimately, we opted for Nora (which has zero significance in my life except that I’ve always thought it was a great name and the very few Noras I knew were/are awesome women) and I’m so glad we did. I'm also glad I don’t have a daughter named Harper. The main reason: So many damn celebs have since named their babies Harper. Neil Patrick Harris, Lisa Marie Presley and Tiffani Amber Thiessen immediately come to mind (interesting that all three offenders go by three names—hmmm). And it would have killed me if a name I chose because of its significance and personal meaning became so trendy. Something celebs do. I would have hated if people thought I named her Harper because I’d read it in Us Weekly (we’ve talked about how I care about what others/strangers think about me, right?) and I would have spent my entire life saying “These are my two kids, Alex and Harper, who’s named after my grandmother not Doogie Howser’s kid.”

The other reason: Harper is way too cool a name for me to pull off. Nick and I just aren’t the cool/unique/trendy kid name kind of people. At all. Tons of my friends’ kids have those kind of names and I think they’re super cute but they’re not us. And so Alex and Nora it is. And if we have a third (which currently I’m thinking ain’t gonna happen) it will probably be a Timothy or Patrick or John or whatever girl name is somewhere between the most popular and something I make up out of thin air, which seems to be what a lot of people do these days.

So, what name did you cut from your kid list that you’re glad you did? Maybe you met a new friend whose kid has that name or you met a kid with that name and the kid is a pain in the ass or you read about a serial killer with that name or you realized it would have sounded terrible with your last name (Alex would have hands down been Rory if our last name weren’t Ruddy—can you even imagine the lisp? Hi, I’m wowwy wuddy).

*sometime soon we’ll talk about wanting to change our children’s names after you name them, which happened to me both times.

** I hope this doesn't offend anyone who has a kid named Harper. I obviously love the name, it just didn't work for me....