My husband and I are expecting our first child, a girl, in early November. To start out, our Norwegian last name is pronounced ronHAHVdee.
We pretty much had a boy's name picked out, but I had a long list of girls' names, some of which my husband vetoed almost immediately (Shea, Eden, Peyton, Leighton). When we started the process, my husband said that I could make the list, and he would pick from it (hence the elimination so quickly). Here is our dilemma...we think we have settled on Camryn (pronounced like Cameron) although I haven't fully ruled out McKenna. I thought I could sneak in one of my eliminated names for the middle name (Camryn Shea), but no such luck.
My middle name is Lynn and my mother-in-law's name is Lynne. And every name my mom has suggested has had the middle name Lynn because she likes it so much. So in a way, we'd be honoring me, my mom and mother-in-law with Camryn Lynn, but I never really liked my middle name. I would have much rather had Leigh. So now I'm considering Camryn Leigh, which my husband is fine with (but he also likes Camryn Lynn).
A side note: the one thing about going with Camryn is the thought that I am setting my daughter up for a lifetime of spelling and pronouncing both her first AND last name. Additionally, she will probably never find her name on one of those custom bicycle license plates or cool name pencil for school in a gift shop.
With Camryn Leigh, we aren't honoring anyone, and we don't care for any other female family names either. So, back to the grandmothers, my mom is Sally (nickname for Sarah which is a family name) so we could do Sarah Lynn or Sarah Lynne to honor both mothers. I do love the name Sarah, and it is a classic name, but I know so many Sarah's, and I'm afraid it might sound a little old fashioned as my daughter grows older.
So I'm really torn about using a family name which I don't care for, so we can honor the grandmothers (and by the way, we know that this is probably going to be our only child). Or honor neither and go with a name we choose because we like it.
Help! And thank you in advance for your consideration!
Two previous posts that might be of use here: Name Advice for First-Time Parents and Choosing Between Two Finalists.
Now I'll turn to your other concerns, and I hope knock them down like little bowling pins, clonk clonk.
Concern #1: A Camryn won't be able to find personalized pencils and license plates. For the number of times I've heard personalized license plates mentioned, I'd expect to see them on almost every bike in town, with the poor uncommon-named children sitting despondent on the sidewalk, too sad to even ride their plateless bikes---and yet I don't know the last time I've seen a name plate on a bike or even seen them in a store. The store where I last saw a small selection of them was mostly stocked not with actual plates but with order forms. Pencils are the same: there is indeed a small selection of names available in some stores, but it's easy and cheap to order a set online. The internet may be a mixed bag of pros and cons, but I'd say it's eliminated the problem of not being able to find personalized products.
Concern #2: A Camryn will have to constantly spell her first and last name. It's true, she will, but so does everyone else. A favorite anecdote in our family is when a family friend with a very difficult surname was ordering a pizza to pick up on her way home, and she said as she was dialing that she always uses "Smith" because she gets so sick of having to spell her surname. Then we heard her place her order, and then she said "Smith," and then there was a pause and she said "S...m...i...t...h." If you choose Sarah, she'll constantly have to tell people whether it's Sarah or Sara (or even Sera, Sierra, Cera, etc.). It's so common now to change spellings, even a Jane Smith has to spell her name. This isn't to say it's not a good thing to keep in mind (there's a huge difference between having to spell Sarah Smith and having to spell Mykinzeigh VonJacht), but Camryn is a widely-accepted spelling.
BUT: Since you love both Camryn and Sarah, I'd cast my vote with Sarah. A modern name could sound time-stamped in another decade, but a name that's been popular for centuries is unlikely to result in anyone saying anything along the lines of "I have such a SEVENTIES name." And I love that the name Sarah Lynne would honor both grandmothers, particularly if this will be your only child. And I suspect that Sally is going to become one of the next hip throwback nicknames. And you'd definitely be able to find the pencils and license plates and Christmas ornaments.
But this is strongly influenced by my own preference for the style of Sarah, and also I have a dear friend named Sara, and also I love family names. I can equally well argue against my own points in the previous paragraph (as I already have on the subject of personalized products) by adding that I don't think time-stamping is something important (or even always possible, or preferable) to avoid. I'm a 1970s Kristen, but I kind of like it that people don't have to meet me to know basically how old I am: there aren't many elderly women or small children named Kristen, so I feel like my name makes sense for me---just as a name that currently feels modern will make sense for people born now. (I still vote for Sarah, though.)
About the middle name. If you choose your mother's name Sarah as the first name, I'd recommend using the Lynne (mother-in-law) spelling for the middle name. If you spell it Lynn, it does increase the fun of matching mother/daughter middle names---but then the name is clearly after you, and only coincidentally happens to be your mother-in-law's name. If you use Camryn as the first name, I think it's the same deal (Lynne honors your mother-in-law; Lynn is after you and what a happy coincidence it's the mother-in-law's name too), but it's less politically important which you choose since no one else is being honored.
If your dislike of the name Lynn/Lynne causes you to not want to use it, I wonder if you'd like something in the Lynneleigh/Lynnley/Linley area. It diminishes the honor (especially the further the spelling gets from Lynne), but perhaps at a worth-it cost. Or perhaps at that point it would be better to go with Leigh. Or Camryn Sarahlynne.
Let's have a poll over to the right for Camryn and Sarah, and I'll put McKenna in there too since it sounds like it's still on the finalist list. [Poll closed; see results below.]
Name update! Wendy writes:
Hi Swistle! First, I just want to thank you and all your readers for your help and suggestions on our name dilemma. I loved reading each post and checking in on the voting poll.
I am happy to announce that we welcomed our beautiful baby daughter, Camryn Lynn, on November 16th. It was a tough decision right up until the end, but I have to say that I have received so many compliments on the name, and we were able to honor both grandmothers with the middle name Lynn.
After much discussion after your post, my husband and I eliminated Sarah (too common) and McKenna from the running. However, we did add Riley as a late entry to the list of consideration. I was so torn between the two names right up until one week before she arrived. One day I favored Riley, and the next I favored Camryn and I was driving myself (not to mention my husband) crazy. We were going to go to the hospital with both names and wait to see which name she looked like, but I was afraid to make such a spontaneous decision. So finally, on my actual due date (11/9), I just made an executive decision to go with Camryn Lynn.
So, I feel a little bit guilty that our daughter is going to have to spell her first and last name her entire life (but as you said in your post, who doesn't?). But I have to say, I do not regret the decision at all. Thank you again for your input and thank you to everyone who weighed in!