When it comes to having kids, I have been all over the map. Do I? Don’t I? What do I want? Honestly, I’ve used that as a barometer for when my antidepressants aren’t working. If I’ve had a moment where I felt a glimmer of kid hunger, I knew my meds needed to be adjusted. A bump up or down in dose or a switcheroo in brand and I’d be back to my no-thank-you norm.
Though I’ve never been bummed that I don’t have children—in fact I have spent most of my life super happy that I don’t—I sort of always thought that I’d end up with ‘em. Like, when it was time, I’d do that thing, that thing that’s next. So The Wasband and I would usually reference procreation as a semi-distant When rather than a theoretical If.
Thus we talked names. And they were always girl names. I was raised with only sisters, so thinking about raising a boy never penetrated my thoughts. And The Wasband never wanted a son; he only ever wanted a daughter. Really, I think what he wanted was what my dad has—little girls who are damned certain that their dad can do not a shred of wrong. (Whenever someone hears that I am the oldest of six girls, no boys, they invariably say, “Oh your poor dad!” I am quick to correct. “No, no. My poor mom. Dad could do no wrong. Mom’s job was the tough one.”)
Side note: If you’re curious, where I sit now on the kid question is a very comfortable place of thanks-but-no-thanks. I will be perfectly happy to never grow a baby in this body. Now that I’m divorced and have the option of options in a man, I very much like the idea of being with a guy who has absolutely no interest in ever impregnating me. (Check.)
Seven years ago, when I got my Yorkie beastie, there was no question as to what I’d name her. (I say “I” instead of “we,” because The Wasband did not want that dog. Not one bit. In fact, to get her I had to make a deal. He could have a human cesspool, er, hot tub for the backyard, if I could get a tiny dog.) Back then, when I got my pet, I knew that if I had children it wouldn't be for quite some time. But since I am of a family of six girls, there was no telling if one of my sisters would get herself pregnant and steal my moniker of choice. So I had to take it off the table. Thus, I dubbed my dog Sophie, so no one else could use it. No kid wants to be told that they were named for Aunt Megan’s dog.
Because The Wasband and I are both plenty opinionated, settling on names for human children was no piece of cake. What he liked, I loathed. What I wanted, he vetoed. Except for two. For some reason, Gwendolyn was a no-brainer. For years, we agreed on that one as an option. And then one night, after a chatting with my parents, my sister Mal, and her husband Nick, we landed on a second name, one we liked even more than our agreed-upon first choice. Sitting in my parents airy living room, the six of us tossed names back and forth for a couple of hours. On some The Wasband and I were in neutral agreement. Others, not so much. I don’t even remember the names we nixed, because when we landed on The One, our hypothetical girl-child was never referred to as anything but. If The Wasband and I had had a daughter, her name would have been Iris.
So for the both of us, that name should probably die. I know I’ll bury it someplace in the recesses of memory. Since "Iris" was ours together, it would be pathetic to dig it up for use with another partner. For my part, if I had a baby or a puppy with some guy and learned that the name he proposed and I agreed on was significant in a past relationship, well, I’d feel pretty bummed and probably betrayed. But that’s just me, and I have self-respect.