Background on the family would include myself Mackenzie Ruth and my husband Jackson Elliot "Jack". Our last name sounds like Cunningham and this baby girl, our third child together, is due on April 23rd, 2012. We have two older children Jackson Brooks IV "Brooks" and Emery Taylor "Emery". Long story short, my son goes by his middle name as he is the fourth, his first name was not my first choice, but it is the "Cunningham" family tradition to name the first son Jackson, and Brooks is a more appealing, unique choice of a name. Everyone in our family calls him Brooks, he introduces himself as Brooks to new people and although he knows his name is Jackson, he prefers to be called Brooks and will correct people if they use the wrong name with him.
Then we have our sweet baby girl Emery Taylor. I wanted her to be named Emerson Taylor after my maiden name (Emerson) and a friend who passed away in high school (Taylor). But, there was another "Cunningham" tradition that was in the way. The middle name Marie is typically used for women on that side of the family, but I was very adamant on my name choice. We compromised and gave her the name Emery because it sounds like it incorporates Marie (although my husband did lobby for Emarie/Emerie but I just couldn't do it).
Now we get on the subject (finally!) of baby girl #2. My husband now insists on using the middle name Marie (as we did not use it with Emery), but it doesn't feel right to me. We named our son after the Cunningham side of the family and Emery is partially named for the Cunningham's, although her middle name represents a childhood friend of mine. I feel it is time to honor my part of the family. Possible name that could be used as either a first or middle name would be:
Lillian, Catherine, Ruth, Elizabeth, Caroline, Hadley, Shea, or Addison
Names that we have also looked at have been:
Kennedy, Reagan, Leighton, and Kinley
The pressure has also been put onto us by both sides of the family. My parents are arguing that they is no namesakes after them (William Hayes and Lillian Elizabeth), while my husband's family is arguing the debate of Marie as a middle name.
Please help us Swistle as it seems you can be the only person of reason in the situation. Please!
My first impulse is to go back in time and pressure the two of you to use Emerson instead of Emery: not only is "mother's maiden name as child's first name" one of my favorite family name ideas, but it's a beautiful balance for the "named for his father" naming tradition of your first child.
If altering the name Emerson to incorporate Marie WASN'T enough to satisfy the tradition, then the name Emerson should have been left alone (otherwise the sacrifice was too great to justify the change); because of this, I
Meanwhile, it sounds as if both sides of the family are being pushy and disagreeable. No one may demand a namesake be used, or complain if it isn't. Namesakes are honors not be expected, but rather to be received with happy, teary-eyed surprise. Both sets of your parents made their own baby-naming decisions for their own babies, and now the decisions are up to you and your husband. You may even need to point this out in a polite and loving way. (It will help even more if your parents didn't use family names for you and your siblings, or if your husband's parents felt at all burdened by their own need to follow traditions.)
Now that we have dealt with the grandparents, we need to deal with your husband. The children in this family all carry his family surname, is that right? First and middle names are not also to be chosen based solely on his and his family's preferences; if anything, the fact that his family is honored in every child's name already should tip the use of other honor names toward your side of the family, so that each full name represents both sides. The names are to be decided by the two of you together; there is no room here for insisting, or for acting as if traditions are requirements that trump the other parent's naming rights. He was very fortunate to marry a woman who was willing to let her son be named by tradition; insisting also now on a "typically used" middle name tradition is pushing it.
(Not that these paragraphs of should-ing and shouldn't-ing will do you much good if the other people involved disagree. But sometimes it is heartening to have others on your side, even if it makes no difference to the reality of the situation.)
With the name Emery, my favorite names from your family list are Hadley, Shea, and Addison. And although I feel outraged on your behalf and it makes me feel stubborn and resistant to this idea, I reluctantly mention that Hadley Marie would be pretty cute, and would be a nice way to give each daughter a name that's a mix of mother's and father's sides.
But I prefer Hadley Elizabeth. Or Addison Hayes would be nice with Emery Taylor. I'm finding Shea harder to work with, and Shea Cunningham sounds a little like Chez Cunningham, so maybe I'd put Shea in the middle name slot instead: Hadley Shea, Addison Shea.
I especially like the idea of using your middle name Ruth, to give each daughter a tie to your name as your son's name ties to his father's. Hadley Ruth, Addison Ruth.
The names on your joint list (Kennedy, Reagan, Leighton, Kinley) are all great with Emery, but they don't seem as good with Cunningham. Maybe Landry would work. Landry Cunningham; Emery and Landry. Because it's a unisex name, I'd go definite-feminine for the middle name: Landry Ruth, Landry Elizabeth, Landry Catherine.
Or to get rid of the unisex aspect, Laney would work well. Laney Cunningham; Emery and Laney. Laney Shea is fun to say, or Laney Ruth, or Laney Elizabeth.
Or Shelby. Shelby Ruth Cunningham, Shelby Elizabeth Cunningham.
Lila isn't exactly Lillian, but might please your mother anyway. Lila Cunningham; Emery and Lila.
Or hey, would you want to do another combined name like Emery? Lilabeth would reflect both of your mom's names, and then if you did Marie in the middle maybe everyone would be happy. Lilabeth Marie Cunningham; Emery and Lilabeth.