Swiped from Dawn.
Who named your child?
Akiva: Bill and I named him, based on lengthy discussions.
Gideon: I named him on the fly, and Bill agreed to it. Twice.
What did you name him/her?
Akiva: Akiva Jonathan Parker
Gideon: Gideon Avram Jeremiah
When did you come up with the name?
Akiva: A few weeks before he was born we finalized the choices. (If he’d been a girl, his name would have been Gracie Miriam Flora.)
Gideon: The day after he was born. He had a starter name for the first day but it didn’t stick. (If he’d been a girl, I have no idea what he’d have been named.)
Where were you when you came up with the name?
Akiva: I was in the purple couch room upstairs in my house, talking to my mom on the telephone.
Gideon: I was in the maternity ward at Cambridge Hospital.
Why did you pick that name?
Akiva: My family has a strong tradition of naming new babies after deceased loved ones. So strong a tradition that by the time Akiva was born, the boy names had been picked over quite well. We were the last to have children, so he’d been preceded by seven other cousins, five of whom were male. I wanted to follow in the tradition, though, so I started digging around. I asked my parents what their parents’ Hebrew names had been. On my father’s side, the Hebrew name and everyday name (male) were the same, Chaim. On my mother’s side, it was Clifford in daily life and Akiva in ritual life. When my mother told me her father’s name had been Akiva, tears came to my eyes and I knew I’d found my baby’s (boy) name. The Jonathan is in honor of my husband’s father John. And Parker is in honor of my dear teacher and friend, Glenn Parker, whose memory still inspires my singing.
Gideon: Well, I liked the sound of it.
No seriously. As his birth approached, we had a piece of paper on the kitchen counter, and every time either of us thought of a name we liked, we’d write it there. Some of the other contenders were Ezekiel, Josiah, Shimon, Ezra, Yehuda. You get the idea. I like a name that strongly identifies as Jewish. When Gideon first arrived (you remember he came suddenly and a little ahead of when we were ready!), Avram was the name that was most in favor on our list. I didn’t know what else to do, so I named him Avram. Still couldn’t figure out the middle names, but I was trying my damnedest to call him Avram, even Avi. After a day, though, I realized Avram just wasn’t his name. When Bill and Akiva came in the morning after Gideon’s birth, after going home to shower and eat, I blurted out, “I don’t think his name is Avram. I think his name is Gideon.” Bill mumbled something that sounded like acquiescence, and that was the end of that.
There is only mild family significance to the name, in that my father had an Uncle Avram, whom I met late in his life. He’d fled the Holocaust to Australia and remained there for his whole adult life. In his 60s or 70s, he and his wife Fera made a trip around the world, to see all the places and people they’d missed. They stopped in Michigan to see my father’s young family and spend a few nights with us. They arrived in the winter and I’ll never forget Avram’s response to seeing snow. I seem to recall that he hadn’t seen snow since his youth in Poland. (Can that be possible?) Anyway as soon as we got them home from the airport, we all went outside to build a snowman together. Somewhere my parents have the pictures: two Holocaust survivors, two little girls, and a snowman, huddled together and giggling in the Michigan suburbs.