Choosing a name for your unborn child is the most simple yet critical choice a parent can make. I think it's way more important than people realize, especially now. That name is going to be screamed out, most likely incorrectly on Starbucks cups, and it is something that will appear on future business cards and one day, on the birth certificate of their own child.
Our last name, Henry, is a first name. So immediately, anything like "Jackson" or "Hudson" or any first names that sounded like last names were off limits. I immediately thought of my baby's name getting called in class on an attendance roster or at a doctor's office backwards for the rest of his life. We also considered the danger of naming our child something that easily rhymed with something else that could eventually lead him to getting bullied or teased.
My husband and I wanted to name our son something bold, something very American, but also something that had meaning to us.
My husband and I are extremely patriotic. We wanted to name him after two great American men. While my husband and I spouted off all possibilities from baby naming websites and received a plethora of input from family and friends, all along we had a name that just felt right: Jack Leonardo Henry. The first name, Jack, was inspired by my dear friend and mentor Linda Marx Cole's late husband, Jack Cole, an Emmy-award winning journalist and talk show host with a solid love of country and music.
The middle name, Leonardo, was after my late grandfather, Leonardo Magazzolo, a Sicilian immigrant who immigrated to America with just the clothes on his back and went on to live the American dream manufacturing clothing for Ralph Lauren and other top fashion brands when New York's garment industry was booming in the 60s.
My husband and I decided to tell close family and friends about our baby naming plans but we decided to keep his full name a secret until he was born because we wanted to be absolutely sure the name would suit him once he was finally born. And the second he came out of my body, I was sure as the sun would rise the next morning that I was staring at Jack Leonardo Henry.
My advice to other parents out there is to choose a name that feels right. Choose a name that means something to you. Don't rely on a baby naming book or naming a website because while it could give you a few ideas, your child is too unique to receive some generic run-of-the-mill moniker. Pick a name that's solid and strong. Follow your heart on this one. It will never steer you wrong.
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