How to Deal with a Name That Conjures Bad Memories
Q. My wife is dead set on naming our daughter after her favorite aunt, Sylvia. I used to be horribly bullied in fourth grade by a tyrant called Sylvia. As a result, I hate that name. How can we honor my wife's aunt without raking up my unpleasant memories?
A. I am very sorry to hear about your unfortunate experience in fourth grade; however, keep in mind that it was fourth grade. I also understand your wife's wish to honor her aunt. There are many ways to celebrate a namesake. You could open up the field of choices by picking a name that begins with the same letter, S, to come up with Serena or Stella. You could choose a name that ends in "ia," such as Mia or Olivia. You could also use some of the letters in Sylvia to form another name, like Isla, Lia, or Ivy. International variations of Sylvia include the French, Sylvie and the Italian, Silvana. Since Sylvia means "forest," you could choose a tree name, such as Laurel, as a tribute. Did Aunt Sylvia have a favorite soap opera character named Greenleigh? Maybe the flower she most admired was the calla lily, in which case you could call your daughter Calla or Lily. There is no shortage of inspiring ideas once you put your heads together.