Last December, my husband and I welcomed into this world our first born son: Lincoln. Lincoln Danger. Yep. As you might imagine, a typical conversation following Lincoln’s birth went as follows:
Us: It’s a boy!
Friend or Family member: Congratulations! What’s his name?
Us: Lincoln Danger.
Friend or Family: (blank stare) I’m sorry, did you say Danger?
After the initial surprise, said friend or family member either feigned indifference, pretended not to notice, or (our favorite) broke out into a “That. Is. Awesome. Why didn’t we think of that?!”
When you choose an atypical name (even a middle name) for your child, you must be prepared to answer the why’s…
First, though, it might be helpful to think about how middle names are typically chosen in the first place:
1. Some people choose a name to honor a family member, usually the grandmother or grandfather. Sometimes the mother’s maiden name is used.
2. Perhaps it “just sounds good” with whatever first name was selected.
3. The middle name might actually be intended to be used as part of the first name (e.g., Mary Ann, John Paul)
4. It could be part of a family tradition (e.g., My dad has 5 sisters. Every one of them has the middle name Ann).
When we were choosing Lincoln’s name, we fell somewhat into the family tradition category–not that Danger is family heritage. For 5 generations in my husband’s family, the initials L.D.W. have been given to the first born son (taking a slight detour with my husband’s uncle, who named his son Chris…my husband’s parents chose to carry-on the tradition instead).
So, we knew we needed an “L” name (done!) and a “D” name. Combing through baby name books at our local bookstore gave us a few front runners, but we still weren’t sold on anything. My husband was a bit sad that his number one choice actually started with a “P” so couldn’t be used (since I’m feeling generous, I’ll offer the name up to any takers out there: Pocket (I know…).
In fact, please use it. That way I can tell him it’s been done and I won’t have to consider it for baby #2.
One day as I was searching online, I came across a baby name list I hadn’t seen before. Going straight to the “D” names, I saw it: Danger. We loved it and never looked back.
But how to answer the inevitable “why” questions we were sure to get?
Really, for us, it boils down to the fact that the middle name (in America, at least) is rarely used. Sure, you’ll print it on your birth announcements, they’ll call it out on graduation day, it will probably make an appearance on your wedding invitations…but really, most people don’t go around everyday introducing yourself with your full name. [Editor’s note: unless you’re me. -AMS]
Think about it — other than close friends and family, do you know people’s middle names? On resumes and other paperwork in the business world, the middle initial is more often used that the full name. Keeping all that in mind, we decided to move forward with our name choice. Why did we pick it? Why not? If it is hardly ever going to get used, why not have fun with it?
Our one regret about choosing such a unique middle name for our son? The intense pressure we now have to come up with something equally unique when baby #2 comes along (I mean, really. How are we supposed to follow that??). We aren’t expecting yet, but I’m already writing down ideas. It is going to take a long time to come up with something that lives up to Danger.