Friday, June 10, 2011

What's in a name?

Freddy and I are both proud people. We love our culture and heritages. We also love each others which this day in age seems to be a rare thing. I find it fascinating that he is Apache/Mexican and he finds it intriguing that I am Czech Roma/Sicilian.

When we decided to have our first child we knew that there were certain criteria the name had to meet.
1. Must represent each culture
2. Must have a strong/powerful meaning
3. Must sound rhythmic/beautiful
4. Must be a real and not made up name
5. Must "look" beautiful/strong (you know how some names just look beautiful when spelled out?)

This is no easy task. How do you have a Slavic (or Romani), Hispanic, Apache, Italian name? How do you make it mean something? As soon as we found out we were pregnant we decided to start researching right then and there. Of course we didn't know the sex of the baby so we decided to start with a male name (easier to make female if we needed).

When I first met Freddy and we were talking about names I knew he wanted to name a son of his Deseo. This usually means "desire" in Spanish but the literal translation is "wish". So I agreed to have it in the name, just not as a first name. This took care of the Hispanic part of the heritage. Also the last name.  Now, we just need something that represents my side. Freddy isn't a fan of Hispanic first names so going Slavic was an easy decision for both of us. We just couldn't for the life of us figure out what.

One day we were discussing it of course and I had mentioned my family name being Valek. Freddy said, "why don't we use that"? YES!! What a great way to honor my family and keep the name in the family. It sounds strong, has meaning, looks beautiful, sounds rhythmic, represents both sides. I love it!! 

So there it is. Valek Deseo G. Now, here is another problem. What if the baby is a girl? Valek being a surname would change to Valekova or Valkova. Very inappropriate. So here goes the search again.  We ended up finding Valeska (pronounced Valeshka) in a baby book at Barnes and Noble. Perfect! It is the female diminuitive of Vladislav (a real and valid name with strong meaning).

Now we have Valeska Desea G. Then we found out we were having a girl. So the name solidified. Valeska Desea. I have always loved the name Victoria and wanted the Sicilian side of me represented as well.  Freddy wasn't a fan but I put it on her birth certificate anyway. Her name legally is Valeska Victoria-Desea G.

Meaning: "A Warrior's wish to be a glorious leader". 

Now that is a baby girl with one helluva a strong name. Something she can aspire to be and live up to. A name that has no limits or boundaries. It is beautiful, rhythmic, strong, represents all cultural aspects of her and her family and can never be taken from her. This is our baby girl.

Fast forward almost 7 years.

We're pregnant!! Uh-oh. What do we name him/her? How do we match up the names with the same guidelines as last time? This was a PITA last time. We can't exactly use the same name. Shoot.

Alright here we go again. This time I decided that I want this baby to be named after his/her father. Valeska honored me so this time it is only appropriate that we honor their father.

Freddy's Apache name has always been so beautiful to me. M'baatsu Tsu Tsuwey (wolf of the morning star).  He has had dreams since he was a little boy about wolfs and it is his spirit guide. Through him I have learned to love and admire this majestic animal. It's loyalty to the pack, its caring potential for its young and the bravery to withstand what man has done to eliminate it from mother earth.

So there we go. We need a name that means wolf. Not an easy task! I don't like the way most languages sound with the word "wolf". And naming a child "Wolf" just wouldn't work. I am hippy but not that hippy. 

Onto google we go. We search and search and search and search. Nothing jumps out. I also knew that I wanted the name Mark somewhere in the name as well (this is Freddy's first name). We did find the Czech/Polish name Marek and we both like it. Decided that the meaning of Mark/Marek was perfect too.

Eventually we did find a name we love. Dacian. It is Phygrian Greek (even though we aren't Greek the story of the Dacians is what fascinated us) meaning "wolf". So there we go. A name we both love. And it can easily be made feminine into Daciana.

Bellybean now has a name. Dacian Marek G. or if female Daciana Martiya G. (Martiya is Romani for "spirit of the night"). 

Then we find out bellybean is a HE! Dacian Marek it is. But, it just doesn't add up to his sister's name. It needs something more. But what?

My BFF is the most amazing person I know. Her strength, courage, support and so much more have meant the world to me. She is not just a friend but my family. I don't know how I ever lived without her love. She has been a paramount pillar in my life the past 6 years and for that I am eternally grateful. What better way to honor her than to name my last child after her? Call me crazy but I feel this is important. Her name is Susana but everyone calls her Sani. Sani also happens to be a Navajo (yes I know Freddy is not Navajo but it is close enough to Apache for me to feel comfortable with it) meaning "the old one". So it works out perfectly.

Dacian Marek-Sani G.
Meaning: " The old warlike wolf" or it can be "The old warlike wolf god"

Now that's the ticket. A name to match his sister's, it looks beautiful, is rhythmic, has a strong meaning and represents our cultures. WHEW!! That was tough.

So there you have it. The story behind our children's names. So many people ask us what it means or how we came up with it. As you have read it is no easy story to tell. We hope that they live up to their names and hold pride in how much meaning it meant for us. We hope our children carry on this tradition and put stock into what a name can and cannot do for you.

Valeska Victoria-Desea G - A warrior's wish to be a glorious leader
Dacian Marek-Sani G - The old warlike wolf

2 beautiful people with extraordinary names!

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