For most of us, having a parent who loves our kids and wants to be involved in their lives is a gift. And many of us develop a new appreciation and respect for our parents after we become parents ourselves and feel that we owe them a debt of gratitude. But do we owe them naming rights for our children? No. No, we don’t.
A recent article in The New York Times shared the story of Frank and Jennifer Hudock, who were offered $10,000 by Frank’s parents to name their baby Frank instead of the name they had chosen, Max. Apparently, according to “professional baby name watchers,” this kind of bribery is a new trend, as more traditionally minded grandparents are faced with grandchildren who are to be named “Sherlock” and “Bouillabaisse.” Says The New York Times writer Alyson Kreuger:
Maryanna Korwitts, a naming consultant… said one client’s grandfather offered a family business if a baby could be named for him. Another… suggested a dream wedding the mother never had and could not afford on her own — the price being the right to name the firstborn.
First, let’s move past the fact that there is such a thing as a baby-naming consultant (People, please. If you hate having money, I have other ideas for what you could do with it.) and instead focus on these insufferable grandparents who think they deserve the right to name their grandchildren. I have written them a short letter addressing the issue:
Dear Grandparents of the World,
Hello! It’s us, your children. Usually we use our time together to talk about the latest deadly virus or how your identity has been stolen… again… but today I want to talk about your rights regarding your grandchildren’s names.
Here’s the thing: You don’t have any.
That may come off as a little harsh, so let us explain why. You see, we are your children, and you named us. That was your chance. You’re done now. And now we are having our own children, the ones we have to take care of 24/7, the ones we have clean poop off of and argue with about the importance of shoes. You’re done with that part too. Because these are our children, not yours, and therefore we get to pick the name we will be screaming for the next 20 years or so (after which the screaming turns to resigned sighs).
Don’t get us wrong: We love that you love our kids. We love that you want to be part of their lives and that you provide free child care. But those are things you’re supposed to do because you’re their grandparents. We don’t tip doctors when they get diagnoses correct, and we don’t give grandparents naming rights for being there.
So please, grandparents, get over yourselves. Whether your grandchild is named Henry or John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt shouldn’t affect your love for them or for us. By now you should understand that your children’s lives are no longer yours to control, and we are going to make a lot of decisions you don’t agree with. That’s Max instead of Frank. That’s clown college. That’s face tattoos. That’s life.
And by the way, if you have $10,000 lying around, there’s a thing called “college” coming up that we could really use that for.