If Only

Do your kids have “if only” names?

I love my kids names, but they do, in fact, have “if only” names.

If only Mr. E hadn’t said “OH HELL NO”. If only it worked with our last name. If only someone else in our family hadn’t used it already. If only Mr. E didn’t say “Luke, I am your father” every time he heard the name Luke. If only I lived in L.A. If only I wasn’t so certain about classic, steady, boring names.  If only I hadn’t known that weird girl in Junior High. If only Mr. E hadn’t had that very annoying next neighbor.  If only I didn’t cringe a little bit every time I pictured telling my mother the name for the first time.  If only I were a little more brave or a little more crazy or had smoked a little more pot in college.

You know what I mean.

Eli’s “if only” name is Hopper.  I have loved that name from the first moment I thought of it, and at no point did Mr. E EVER consider letting me name that child Hopper, and yet, I’ve really never thought “Damn, I’m so glad I didn’t name this kid Hopper.” I loved it then, I love it now, and in a different time and a different life, I’d have named the kid Hopper.

Katherine’s “If Only” name is her middle name, Willoughby.  At the time we thought it was just a little too unusual and as much as I love it, I didn’t want to seem like I was trying really hard to be different, because that’s just not for me.  And really, she is SUCH a Katie.  (And we call her Dubsie a lot too.) But I still do love the name the Willoughby, and I don’t think I would have regretted it if I’d just gone ahead and gone for it.

Sometimes I wonder if we have another baby if maybe that baby will get the “If Only” name. I’m not even sure what it would be, I think it’s different for every kid, but if that baby does arrive some day down the road (NOT PREGNANT) and his or her  name strikes you as a little crazy pants?  You will know why.

So now here is where I have to ask because I really want to know – do your kids have “If only?” names, or did you give them the exact names you were set on right from the start, with no looking back?

So erudite, these children of mine:

(That kid is so totally a Hopper.)


35 Responses

  1. I think a lot of my “if only names” are just…boy names. But our last name doesn’t sound great with very many things, and my husband is completely against alliteration, so we ruled a lot of things out that way too. I had a pretty serious crush on the name Clementine, but that was a shoot-down.

    Also, for what it’s worth, my cat’s name is Hopper.

  2. My husband and I both have an “if only” name for my son. We each really, really wanted a name, but couldn’t get the other on board. We finally found a name we could agree on and we both love it, but if we have a second boy we’re screwed.

  3. We are having a weird mind-twins thing going on. I was thinking about this a TON yesterday. I wonder if Ava should have been Audrey. I mean, she’s Ava to me now, but I also think she’d be a lovely Audrey. And btw, Katie totally looks like her BFF in that photo, with her hair kind of out of sight. I get that serious look all the time!

  4. I had a boy or girl name for my first, a son. the next, a daughter, got the girl name (my mom’s), the third got his mom’s name. The fourth got the feminine version of my name. Wouldn’t change any for the world.

  5. My daughter’s name (Lorelai) is my “if only” name for her. I didn’t ever think I’d get my husband to agree to it, but he did, right away (thanks to my getting him sucked into “Gilmore Girls” back when we were first dating and he was trying to impress me by watching girly TV with me). And actually, if the next baby is a girl, she’ll get an “if only” name too (Kaylee, after a character on “Firefly”, which I also didn’t think he’d agree to because, I mean, two kids named after TV characters? But he’s on board).

  6. Gram, for either of the boys. It sounds with our last name like Grand Canyon. Both my husband and I were sad about that. I also kind of regret not using Cal, which I was against at the time because of the alliteration, and Everett, which the husband would NOT come around to.

    And Tenley for a girl. It was a place name with sentimental value. In the end, it’s probably best we didn’t have a girl because she would have been named that and then everyone would have thought I named my child for a reality show star. (I would have died.)

  7. My first and third, no. I love the names violet lynn and river fay. But my second, yes. I wish I would have either stayed with the nature theme (ivy jane) or with my first choice, carolina jay. But I chickened out and went with carli jay.

  8. Violet got exactly the right name. No if only names for her. For Isla, I had my heart set on Annika, but my husband never got on board. I can still see that kid as an Annika. Leo’s name was always supposed to be Leo, but a week before he was born, I fell in love with the name Dashiell, nickname Dash. But, of course, my last name starts with “Ash”, so that was right out. I’m still sad about it. Stupid last name RUINED MY LIFE.

  9. I sometimes wish I had named Zoe “Josephine” instead. It’s a family name and it has SO MANY options for nicknames instead of just Zoe. But my husband just didn’t like it.

    And I really wanted to name Eliza “Lucy” but my husband shot that down too. That one was because he had briefly dated someone named Lucy and he had this fear that she would somehow find out and think he named our child after her. Ah…. WHAT?

    I do love their names now. But I still love those names and sometimes wonder if they might have preferred them.

  10. I have four “if only” names. Huck and Griffin if only we had boys. Violet and Harper if the husband hadn’t put the kibosh on those names.

    I actually love the names we agreed upon. But, I wish someone would pay me to name babies. I love, love, love picking out names.

  11. Man, do I love this topic! Okay, Adelay doesn’t really have an “if only” name per se, but there were definitely a few I liked a lot that I couldn’t get Jim on board with: Felicity, which I still LOVE and he still dislikes, Annika, which is still on our “might use someday” list, and Anneliese, which we both like a lot except he wanted to pronounce it Ana-lise, like the German pronunciation, and I think it would be confusing and she’d have to constantly correct how her name got said and so we both just gave up on making that name work.
    Eli has no “if only” name. I fell in love with his name because it fit him so well, and I’ve never regretted it for a second.
    Jameson’s “if only” name is his second middle name, Isaac. That was my first choice for him, but I named Eli, so I let Jim pick Jamie’s. And I do love Jameson, too, and Jamie fits him really well, so it doesn’t GRIEVE me or anything. But it would still have been my first choice.

  12. I love the name Gemma, but my hubs wouldn’t even let me put it on the list for our first daughter (Adriana). I was all set to campaign really hard for Gemma once we found out we were having another girl, but then we found out our neighbors have a little Gemma (which is weird, because I didn’t think it was that common of a name – but now it’s made it’s way to the CW, so what do I know). Anyway, I was actually HAPPY that our neighbors had a Gemma, because then I wouldn’t have used it anyway, so now it’s not an if only name, and Lucia really is our #1 pick for our second kid.

  13. Our son’s if only name was a girl’s name. We had both picked because we didn’t find out the baby’s sex before birth.

  14. My youngest is the only one with an if only name. He was going to be Miller Jay (called MJ). My maiden name is Miller and my brother isn’t looking like he’s having any kids so… ya know. However, my husband threatened leaving me if I named him Miller. So he’s Zachary James. He’s fine as Zach and I like it but I still occasionally wonder why I didn’t stick to my guns on that one. The older three don’t have if only names. They are perfect with the names they have. (Alexander, Tyler and Dylan)

  15. My husband has a cousin named Hopper! it suits him.

    My daughter got the name I love the most. My son has an if only name though: Weston. I love my son’s name, but my first choice would have been Weston.

  16. My “if only” name was Tobias. I love it, but our last name starts with T, and I don’t like them together. Our boys are Bennett and William, which I love. I also love Beckett, but I guess I wasn;t brave enough to go with that one. For girls, my names would have been Ainsley and Eleanor.

  17. I love the name Fleur, but it got shot down like a mutha.

  18. YES. I especially have these for the twins, because we spent more time and had more if-only situations (“If only that name went even remotely well with this name,” “If only they were both girls,” etc.).

  19. :sigh: I so wish I would have put my foot down, looking back… but alas, Gavin Walker and Mary Ayn Rae are just that. At least Mar’s name is quirky in her initials (Mary Ayn Rae Young).

    The what if list: Ethan, Josh, Jason, or Jackson (middle name, Wyatt). For her: Norah, Holly, Susan (middle names of Nicole or Liberty).

  20. Atticus came up as well, but Matt shot me down so fast because of that novel. :-/

  21. Since we adopted our daughter from the foster care system, we couldn’t choose her name at all….that could have really sucked, but fortunately, her birth mother had given her a decent enough first name. We would never have chosen it, but that’s how it turned out. However, we gave her our “if-only” name as a middle name: Grace. Boy names we had thought of were pretty standard, and we loved the name “Sam” before everyone else decided they loved it. But I secretly always wanted to give a son the name “Fred,” which is my brother’s name. I like big person names on little people.

  22. My only “what if” name is Nicholas. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that name, and my hubby hates it. So, it will never be used in my household, but I will always love it!

  23. I love my Eli’s name, as did my husband, so that was never in question, but my “if only” name for another boy would be Shane Patrick. I read it in a book at some point and thought it sounded wonderful, and Patrick is a family name, but my husband has a thing against “s” names (yes, really…I don’t know why!), so I’ll never have a Shane. *sigh*

  24. Jack’s is Elliott. Molly’s is Geneva. Emma’s is James.

  25. My “if only” name was Loren for a boy… however, my ex-boyfriend named Loren not only shared my birthday but was my first true love so that name was tossed out immediately. I still love the name, though.

  26. Gatsby for my oldest son. Rowan for my daughter. Gus for my youngest son. Sigh…

  27. I love my kids’ names. Have never questioned Georgia’s name. But sometimes, with Rainer, I wish I had called him Walter (family name). Funny, Rainer is the “if only” name, but Walter (also not common) is still more common. And…my MIL said derogatory things about it, not knowing it was in the top three. And I stupidly listened to her.

    • Oh, I know a little boy named Walter! He is adorable, they call him Wally. But I love Rainer, I really do. E

  28. My twins don’t really have if only names, probably because I was too tired/stressed when they were little to think beyond getting through the next HOUR… however, Marin definitely has an if only name. I really really really wanted her name to be Marin in real life (it’s Leah IRL), and it wasn’t until I started my blog when she was 6ish months old and called her Marin THERE that I got over it. Olive (that’s her real name… haven’t bothered with a blog name for her) doesn’t have an if only name yet… probably/maybe because Olive IS her if only name… I NEVER would have thought David would agree to that name, and instead he INSISTED on it. Oh, wait. I’m just remembering how much I loved Poppy for her. Or Theo, if she had been a he…

  29. Claire was always, always a Claire.

    Charlotte had about ten if only names (you know most of them) and I can still see her as my favorite if only name.

    But, I do really like Charlotte and her middle name is actually my favorite part.

  30. My daughter, Hayley Olivia, got the only name we ever considered for her and I wouldn’t change it one bit. I did think I’d call her Liv, but she’s SO Hayley.

    I’m pregnant with our son and we think we’ve decided on his name, and it was my if only name for a boy for many years, but now I’m just not sure. I think my husband has grown attached to the name, so that might be an unpleasant conversation if my feelings don’t change soon…

  31. Ha. My son is Luke, and my husband went thru a phase of fooling around with the baby monitor, doing different Darth Vader impressions (“Luuuuuuuuuuukkkkke I am your faaaaaaaaaaatthhhhhhhhhhher. It’s truuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuue”). Also, his daycare teachers like to sing “Luke, luke, luke, luke of earl, luke, luke, luke”. Whatever. No regrets. It’s always something whatever you pick, and it doesn’t bother me. Which is funny, because the reason my daugher is not Susannah is because of “Oh Susannah”, which I just couldn’t get past.

  32. My If Only (I Have A Second Daughter, One Day) name is Michaela. It’s a variation of my middle name (Michal) and it’s Hebrew and it starts with M, which satisfies my desire to name my second daughter after my mom and my mother-in-law (Melisa). Unfortunately it is also the name of my brother-in-law’s long-time (now ex-) girlfriend. I hate her. She’s an awful, annoying, awful chick and there’s no way I’d give my hypothetical second daughter a name that conjures up so much hatred.



    Also, for a boy, I really tried to get Chris on board with Judah, but A) He didn’t love it, and B) We didn’t have a boy (shocker, right? 😉 ). Now, if we do have a boy, I can’t imagine naming him Judah, as I loved the nickname Jude, but everyone and their son is named Jude these days. In case you hadn’t noticed, I prefer obscure Biblical names for my kid(s).

    P.S. I love Willoughby. LOVE IT.

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