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My full name is Mark Alan Domeier. I’ve mentioned before that I rarely get called by my first name anymore, but it’s always interesting to me how I got my name. My dad told me once that he wanted four sons and would name them after the four Gospel writers. Well, I was the only son out of four children, and I was given the name of the second of those four in the Bible.

The name Mark actually was around prior to the time of Christ. If you go way back to old Latin, it is Mart-kos, which means consecrated to the god Mars, the Roman god of war. I do enjoy mythology quite a bit, so I guess that’s apropos!

As I researched my name, it was interesting that following the Middle Ages, my name wasn’t prevalent until the 19th century. Of course, Mark Twain, from that century, might be one of the most famous people with whom I share a name, though that was just a pen name for Samuel Clemens. Funny, too, how he’s one of my favorite authors!

There have been plenty of famous Marks, but my favorite is likely Mark Hamill, the actor who portrayed Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars movies (as well as the upcoming one). Fitting there as well that I share a name with an actor who had such a big impact on me!

I suppose the fact that I “mark” papers might round out just how well my parents named me! As far as my middle name… I have no idea. I think they just liked it, even though it’s not what you might consider the normal spelling.

My wife at least knows the origins of both her names. She was named Michelle as a female version of her dad’s name, Michael. Little did she know, it was originally a French name, later adapted by English-speaking countries. It has a more Christian meaning, as it derives from Hebrew, and means “Who is like God?”. Yes, that’s a question mark, not a comparison to the Supreme Being!

Michelle’s middle name is Jane, and that was easily identified since her grandma’s name was the same. However, when our daughter was born, we wanted a nod to that, but with a twist. We came up with Jayna. It’s a tribute to Michelle’s grandma, but gives our first-born a pretty unique name. We both really liked the name Emily, but also each had cousins with that name, so that became Jayna’s middle name.

Yes, the name Jayna is used in the old Super Friends cartoon (one of the Wonder Twins), but I swear I had forgotten that. There was a character in some of the Star Wars novels named Jaina; she was the daughter of Han and Leia (also a twin, scary!), but that’s not the basis of our daughter’s name either.

Before our son was born, we weren’t sure if we were having a boy or a girl, so we had to prepare for either. No matter what, we wanted to have some homage to my side of the family. When he was born, we took both my grandpas’ names and applied them to Anton William. However, my grandpa always went by Tony, and my boy just isn’t a Tony, so he’s got his own claim to the name. If Anton had been born a girl, he would’ve been Olivia Ann, Olivia because we really liked that name and Ann after my grandma.

It’s such an important decision when parents are expecting. After all, the names you choose will be saddled on your child forever! I remember discussing names and immediately dismissing some, based on students I’d had in class! I didn’t really want to be reminded of some of them, which might have limited the number of names we had to choose from! There’s currently another Jayna in our school district, but I’ve yet to have an Anton; I guess I will in a few years for sure.

Some people don’t choose a name until the baby is born. They want to see what the baby looks like and then decide. I guess that works, but I’ve always felt like our kids have really grown into their names. It’s good to wait to see what a pet looks like before naming it, but I liked being prepared for our children.

As mentioned, our kids have some unique names, but this is happening more and more. It’s not just the originality, but trying to spell names in different ways. Growing up, we thought it was weird to have a Jennie and a Jenny in our class. Now I might have a Haylie, a Hayleigh, and a Hayley, usually all in the same class section, just to make calling on students an adventure!

Names are important; they give us our identity. It’s good to know who we are and maybe even to know that we were meant to be that person from the time we were born!

Word of the Week: This week’s word is ultracrepidarian, which means giving opinions beyond one’s area of expertise, as in, “The ultracrepidarian nonsense spouting out of Cliff Clavin’s mouth at Cheers was enough to make the other patrons roll their eyes.” Impress your friends and confuse your enemies!

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