For a variety of reasons, some of which I’m not certain I could name, names are extremely important to me. I’m a linguist. I love literature. I love history, especially Church history. I love Saints. I love names and their meanings.

Despite being a young, single woman with no prospects, I have a selection of names that I want to use for the children I hope to have someday with my future husband. (Maria, Nicholas, John, Thomas, Katherine, Elizabeth, Felicity, Elinor, Teresa, Peter, James, and Michael are but a few ideas. Maria is much more definite than the others.)

Anyway, I just read a blog post about names. One of the comments on the blog said that when choosing a name, you should make sure that your child will never be asked “And how do you spell that?”

My name is Cecilia, in honor of the patron saint of music. It is a beautiful name and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. (I’m so glad I escape Petra and Paulina by not being born on this day 23 years ago, the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.) But it is hard to spell. I get “Cecelia” and “Sicilia” far more than I get “Cecilia.”

Having had people misspell my name for nearly 23 years, I’ve gotten used to spelling it out. And my boss’s three-year-old named Francesca, I’m sure that’s going to be hard to spell. Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful name and she will live.

Someday, I’ll hopefully name one of my daughters Elinor. And people will confuse it with Eleanor and Elanor. But I hope that she understands the beauty of that name and the meaning behind it-the heroine of Sense and Sensibility as well as being derived from the same root as Helen.

So name your kids harder-to-spell names. Give them unique and beautiful names. And hopefully they’ll grow to love them.


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