What’s in a name?

That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet?

Yes yes, I’m a big fan of Shakespeare (‘s tragedy) but really let’s talk about names.

Elle Charlotte.

My daughter’s name was originally going to be Emma. 6 years ago when we thought having a baby would be nice and Mrs M fell pregnant and planned for the arrival of Emily, we discussed how it would work…. Emma… and Emily. And decided they’d be friends and it could. So Emma Jane would be her name.

But time passed and Emily arrived safely and started to grow up a bit. And Emma, over time and pending her arrival became Olivia. Inspired by our favourite show of the time, Fringe (my ringtone was also inspired by it for a while) and there weren’t a lot of Olivias around.

Until there were.

It became fashionable and people we knew started naming their daughters Olivia, but I held onto the name because I liked it a lot, and I was reassured by friends that it’d be ok. When Olivia arrived she’d be my Olivia and it didn’t matter that it had now become a popular name.

Olivia Jane was her name.

And we waited.

But Olivia, Liv, became our IVF baby. She became the blood tests, the waiting, the tears and the emptiness. And still we waited. And so, when I fell pregnant by accident and surprise, our baby was no longer Olivia.

Jane was the constant, as you can guess. Named after two very important people. Samantha Jane, my late cousin who we tragically lost when she was 16, and my mom Rejane (pronounced Ra-jean, so only the Jane in the spelling really).

Elle. Or Al (in pronunciation if I’m honest). It started way before Emma.

In 2007, we got engaged and I also started working in an Asset Management firm – SSGA. I worked for guy, Arron, who little did I know at the time would not only share my birthday, but his wife would inspire my child’s name. As is the case within an open plan office, or maybe just a quiet office of finance ops nerds –  I overheard phone calls to his wife, Al. Short for Alison. Or Alice. But over the phone, he called her Al  (cue: Paul Simon hum).

I liked the name a lot. But I didn’t like Alice. Or Alison. And so Elle became. In 2007, before I was even married, my future girl child would be Elle.

Elle Jane.

Elle Jane.

L Jane

L J – isn’t that a rapper? (ok, ok… LL Cool J)

Elle Jane was just never going to work. But I needed it to.

And then my mom delivered her pearler: “I never liked the name Jane. Plain Jane.” (err.. mom, the name is your namesake). But nope, she was not a fan even with this tug on her heart.

And so with just a few days before the imminent arrival of a baby who we weren’t sure was a girl or a boy yet, we learnt an interesting fact. My mom’s mom, a grandmother I never knew, the real name she never went by, was Charlotte.

And so Elle Charlotte suddenly became our miracle baby daughter’s name. That by the time I went into labour, we were still convinced was a boy. By “we” – I mean Mark. I always knew (dating back to 2007 ofcourse) that my first born would be a girl.

And while I fend off the stupids who ask if Elle/Al, is short for Alistair or Allan, and I smile sweetly (eye roll them) while pointing out that she’s a girl and her name is Elle – like the magazine, or you know, the international supermodel, I know that this child is more unique than just her name. She chose to arrive when she did, against the odds, to a name that was planned well before her time but only came to us at the last moment.

Elle Charlotte Hawkins. My miracle baby girl.