’s list of most popular baby names of 2008 was recently released.  My own name fell hard from the number one spot to #14 for girls, only to be replaced by a distant cousin, Emma.  For this I am thankful.  Not used to sharing my name with anyone (not many Emily’s in the 1970s, 80s or 90s), I have become weary of constantly being summoned in public places only to realize that it is someone addressing a seven year old. 

I really like my name….now.  It’s incredibly versatile, used in its entirety by acquaintances and in formal situations; cut to “Em” by those closer to me and my Mom.  And there is a small list of people who call me Emmy – these people either share my last name or my DNA.  Oh – my oldest and dearest friend calls me Emilai (em-a-lai).  I’m not sure why – I can’t remember when this started –but I love that she does this.

I did not always like my name.  I yearned to be someone other than the gentile little girl that “Emily” conveys.   When playing make believe as a child (when you get to choose your own name) I was always something way cooler than Emily.  I was Joss or Jessie, Cassie or Casey, sometimes Tracy.  As I look back now, these names were connected in their applicability to cowgirls or porn stars.  I guess I craved the edginess.  Pretty much any name is more edgy than Emily – except maybe Margaret.  But my name was very unique at the time.

Baby namers a.k.a. parents fall along a naming spectrum.  At one end are those that want their child to have a unique name; at the other, those who want their child to have a common name.  Leaning towards the unique, I chose Noah for our first (not after the biblical hero but after another hero of biblical proportions — Noah Wile, better known as Dr. John Carter on ER).  I didn’t know any Noah’s personally when my son was born but the name is now number 7 on the Baby Center list.  I still love this name.  Within the last month, Noah just confided in me that he wished we named him Aaron…. or Tyler. 

Chase’s name was a no brainer.  Dave and I only knew of one other child with this name and we agreed it was one of the coolest names ever.  A middle name was harder to come by.  Dave suggested “the cat” but we ultimately went for Alexander.  “Chase” is number 52 on the Baby Center list but I suspect its ranking may rise, at least locally because of a certain foul-mouthed, but certifiably adorable second baseman.  Chase is Chasey to us – at least for now.  It fits him perfectly and I couldn’t imagine calling him anything else.  The other day he told me he wished his name was Bill.

So much for skipping a generation.

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