Dear Annie: Ever since I was a young girl, I've known exactly what I want to name my future children. Wedding plans, career goals, possible boyfriends, even where I'd want to live -- none of these was as clear to me as the names of these future kids. When I played with my Barbies, Barbie and Ken were always renamed "Jane" and "John." (These are pseudonyms. I don't want to share the real names for privacy reasons.)
Earlier this year, I married the love of my life, "Keith," after three very happy years together. Though we're in no rush to have children, we do want to have a family eventually. Family is important to both of us, and we are lucky to have good relationships with my small nearby family and Keith's family of two brothers and three stepsisters, all of whom live across the country. Keith's eldest brother and sister-in-law are expecting a boy, and they just told us that they are thinking of naming him ... "John."
Though I'm thrilled for them, I am also crushed. Years ago, I mentioned to the soon-to-be parents in passing how I liked the name, and I can't help thinking they "stole" it from me. I do understand that I don't have a claim on this name.
However, I'm having a tough time letting go of the resentment, and each time I hear people compliment the name choice, it's like a twist of the knife. I wouldn't want to be seen as copying them if I were to have a son of my own. What can I do? -- What's in a Name?
Dear WIAN: Get out the book of baby names and start perusing the millions of other choices available to you. I guarantee you'll find one that you like even better. And at the end of the day, there's nothing in a person's name more important than what's in his character.
Dear Annie: This is in regard to "Trapped," who was preparing to leave her emotionally abusive husband.
"Trapped" should be able to work with an attorney to follow the statutes of the state in which she lives regarding how to serve her husband with a petition for dissolution and perhaps simultaneously get an order for protection.
There should be no need for "Trapped" to meet with her husband face to face. Law enforcement or a process server could personally serve her husband. Of course, "Trapped" will have to make arrangements for an alternative living situation once her husband has been served. -- Retired Attorney
Dear Retired: Thank you for bringing to attention that important point. Though "Trapped" wanted to tell her husband in person, it is, as you said, not necessary or even advisable.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive situation, there is help. Call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.