Alyssa and Olivia love to ask me questions like, “What was my name going to be if I’d been a boy?” or “What would you have named me if you hadn’t named me Alyssa/Olivia.”
The second of the two came up one day last weekend. Alyssa wanted to know what other names I’d liked before she was born, before Alyssa became the name we chose to give her.
I told her that I’d pushed hard for the name Elizabeth. I explained that I really love the name and I thought it was a lovely tribute to one of my best friends in college.
Alyssa said she likes Elizabeth too. I laughed and said, “Yeah, you would have made a great Lizzy.”
Then I told Alyssa that a few months after she was born, I told Tom that we should have given her the middle name Beth then she would have been Alyssa Beth. Tom wasn’t amused. He was never keen on the name Elizabeth for our daughter and didn’t really like it pointed out that Alyssa was actually pretty similar in the end.
Olivia wanted in on the conversation.
I told her that I tried hard to get her dad to agree to the name Camilla. She’d have probably been called Cami. I said that her middle name would have had to change if he’d gone along with Camilla, though, because Camilla Kate wouldn’t have quite worked for me.
In the end, Tom didn’t like the way Camilla went with our last name (starts with an L) and so it was left behind and we obviously settled on Olivia, popularity not a problem for us.
At that point in the conversation Alyssa suggested I call them Elizabeth and Camilla for the day. Olivia was skeptical of this idea but went along because Alyssa can do no wrong in her eyes (unless Alyssa is trying to take something away from Olivia and then all bets are off.)
I like that they ask these questions. I like that I get to think back on those few quick months when they were growing, a dream I was having, a wish come true. When I imagined who they might be and what they might become.