What’s in a name?

Today I was asked how we came up with the name Holden. When I responded it was from the book ‘The Catcher in the Rye”, it was met with confusion. The person asking said that they thought the name was from some European car manufacturer.
Do I seem like the type of person who would name my child after a brand of cars??

This wasn’t the first time someone had either never heard of the book his name came from, or if they had- it just didn’t click that that’s where it was from even though Holden Caulfield is the most famous Holden I can think of.
The book has always been my favorite, and a book I think everyone should read at least once- so I guess I get a little miffed when people don’t know the meaning behind it, or why I would name my child after the main character.

Names don’t always have to have a deeper meaning- Parker’s doesn’t really. I had an entire list of names for boys that I liked when we first found out Parker was a boy, but either they just didn’t feel right- or Thomas flat out hated them.
While his name might not have that meaning that Holden’s does, as soon as we came across it while making fun of other names in a random baby name book as we were shopping for baby clothes- it just clicked. As soon as we said it outloud, we knew it was the perfect name for our unborn child.

What I find to be the most interesting part of the naming process (if you happen to name your child before they are born)- is to see how they grow into the name you have given them. People always wonder if their child’s name will “fit”. If it will match their personality. I know plenty of women who have worried that they chose the wrong name.. their baby just doesn’t “look” like the name they gave them.. And somehow, as if we have some kind of intuition as to the type of person and the type of personality our child will grow to have- the name ALWAYS fits. It always ends up being the perfect name, whether the child agrees with it or not (I hated my name growing up, still kind of do, but i’m sure others would say it fits).

Even I wasn’t sure Holden looked like a Holden. How do you look like a name, really? I can even remember a friend of ours telling me I was really setting myself up by naming him Holden- because his namesake from the book is headstrong, adventurous and stubborn among other things- and she was right. Holden is just like the Holden we named him after (minus all the bad.. so far.. and hopefully forever. Read the book and you’ll know what I mean). The name is nothing short of perfect for him.
My nephew’s name- Preston- fits him just right too. It’s funny because I always considered the name sort of.. wimpy. Prissy, whiny, rich kid type of name (as stereotypical as that sounds). Even though my brother is NONE of those things- Preston is exactly like his name. I love the kid, but he is a petite, clingy, whiny little thing if I ever saw one.

If you name your daughter Taylor, chances are she will be tomboyish and play sports. Sure, she could buck the trend.. but in a lot of ways I feel like a baby grows into a name, instead of a name growing to fit them. All the female Taylors i’ve ever known have always fit the “type”.
If you name your kid Percy, he’ll probably be an oversized bully.. just to spite you for naming him such a horrible name.

So I guess now i’m left to wonder if Parker will be a Parker.. and what is a Parker really? I imagine the name to be.. unique, but not too out there.. maybe the creative type, fun and easy-going. Only time will tell as Parker grows out of baby-lump stage and really starts to show his personality. Since i’ve never known anyone with the name Parker, it’s a little harder for me to pinpoint the type of name it really is.. but I don’t think i’ve cursed him by naming him that (as I would have by naming him something like Billy-Bob or Bubba). As it almost always goes with babies- only time will tell.

Posted on December 5, 2009 by Holdin' Holden 3 Comments
Holdin' Holden

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  • totally know what you mean. and i find the same issue with both Cohen and Abe that you do with Parker. I’ve never known another Cohen or Abram, so what are those personalities?! It’ll be interesting to see.

    When Cohen was born several people asked if I named him after some guy on the show OC. No. Just no. Even more perplexing and yet amusing was the amount of strangers who would ask Cohen’s name and then reply “mazel tov” to me at the end of their questioning session despite never asking if we were Jewish. We are not. We just happen to like Hebrew names and the meaning behind them.

    I look forward to seeing what they become.

    PS I read your blog everyday now 🙂

  • Glad you’re reading the blog! Hope you like it 🙂

    I’ve never personally known a Holden or Parker either. Parker as a last name, yes.. but that doesn’t count. And the only Holden I know of is Holden Caulfield. It’s funny how we make those name associations.

    Even funnier how there are certain names I would NEVER consider naming my child just because I really disliked someone with that name, or it was an ex’s name.. or everyone with that name was evil, etc etc- even if other people with that name were sweet- ONE person can ruin a name!

    I’ve never known a Cohen or Abram either. Cohen as a last name yes (and yes they are Jewish haha), and Abram as a dude on TV but never personally

  • Kids do grow into their names Thomas has always been the questioner in our family, the how?, what?, why? guy. Richard the royal king of all he surveys, or so he thinks, and Joy who flits from this to that.
    I still believe you all did an awesome job with thier names. When I think of Parker I think of steadfast loyalty, a rock. And yes Holden as headstrong and stubborn.