I have a whole theory about regret—about how if you've lived a life with which you are happy, if you have taken opportunities that have presented themselves, if you have learned from mistakes and been willing to continue taking risks—that you will have few regrets. If you know you have made the most of what you have, what is there to regret, really? We all make bad decisions from time to time; to me, the only thing to regret is not learning from them. I may struggle with perfectionism, but I don't struggle with regret. I've lived a full life thus far, and I continue to try to walk that path.
Lately, though, there's been something nagging at me. A regret, yes, and a fairly significant one.
I think I gave my daughter the wrong name.
Don't get me wrong, I love the name Madeleine. I don't know if I've ever posted here that she's named for Madeleine L'Engle, my favorite author. When I was in high school French, I chose Madeleine as my French class name in honor of Ms. L'Engle, so in a way, Maddie is named for me, too. It's a beautiful, rich name. It also happens to be incredibly popular right now. There are three Madeleines at our preschool, and then there are the Madisons. It was important to me not to choose a name that was going to be popular. Unique, but not strange. That was my motto, and that's a motto that led me to choose the name that I wish I had given Maddie.
Ramona was a runaway favorite girl's name for me. Yes, it was inspired by the Beverly Cleary books, but I also just like the strong sound and relative uniqueness. The thing is that John didn't like it very much. Oh, sure, I could have pushed him and he would have gone for it. But he was not really on board. Also, the only boy name we really liked was Riley,* and I was opposed to having the kids' names start with the same letter.** Madeleine was my clear second choice, and John loved it, so that was that.
Ramona is the kind of name that requires a certain personality, at least to me. It requires someone strong, someone unique, someone singular. That's my Maddie. I don't think my sense of regret would be so strong if Mads were not so clearly a girl who could carry off the name Ramona with aplomb.
Maddie seems to like her name, and I suppose that's the most important thing. It's kind of odd, though, to have this sense that she's someone else. It's not as though I call her Ramona, but when I think of the name, it just seems right in a way that Madeleine doesn't. I don't think naming her Ramona would have changed one thing about the person that she is today, but for some reason, I feel like that name would more accurately reflect her personality and spirit.
At least I feel like Riley's name is perfect.
*Also significant: he's named in part for our reproductive endocrinologist.
**No offense to people who are into that, it's just not my thing.