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A Mack by Any Other Name Would be McA

August 30, 2010

Liz, from A Belle, a bean and a Chicago Dog, wrote a post about her daughter’s name and how it doesn’t quite fit.  Well, it got me thinking about how I hung my middle child with a really tough name.  I thought I’d tell you his story and include a little baby naming advice.  

Wayne, God love him, pretty much gave me free range with naming our boys.  And I really like old people names on kids.  Solid names.  Names that will grow up with them.  Nothing trendy for me.  I didn’t want them to have 4 friends with the same names.  Nothing that made the top 25 most popular baby names list. 

No sir. Not for my  boys. 

And since I really like “old” names, I gave Adam the oldest name ever.  He was named after the very first man, after all.  Adam Ward, the Ward was after my dad.   Sam got an old man name too.  Samuel Copeland, Copeland was my mom’s maiden name.  But, Mack’s name is where the problem lies.

I was my grandaddy’s girl.  He died when I was very young,  and I have only a smattering of memories of him.  I can remember singing “You Are My Sunshine” to him while sitting on his lap in his wheelchair.  And though, I don’t have many vivid memories, my dad always told me how he thought that  my granddaddy hung on as long as he did, even though his health was very poor, because of me.  If my dad didn’t bring me by each day, my granddaddy would call and ask where “his girl” was.  And I couldn’t wait to visit. 

My dad said, that my grandmother(who was mean as the devil and I guess I could sense it, even as a little kid 😉 ) would squat down to give me a hug when I ran in, and I’d swerve around her and go straight for my granddad and climb into his wheelchair for a hug.  This apparently tickled my dad and my granddaddy to death. 

So, even though I didn’t have him in my life for long, I always felt a connection to him.  And so, decided to name Mack after him. 

The only problem was, his name was weird.  McA.(Pronounced Mack-A)  That’s all. No middle name, no nothing.  It just stopped with the A.  

From what I understand, it was some butchered version of a family name.  I think my dad got part of it, and he got the other part.  McAstor was the name, I think. He was McA.  My dad’s first name was Astor. But, he was called Astor Ward,(my family was big on double names) but preferred his initials or his nickname. But, that’s a weird one for another day.  He always said that his grandmother named him and then died before he was old enough to kill her.  I guess until you’ve walked a mile in “Astor Ward’s” shoes, you can’t really blame him. 

We decided to name our baby McA, but call him Mack.  I love old man names you know, and Mack sounded about as old as you could get.  And I loved that name.  I didn’t think the McA would be a problem.   So, McA Wayne it was.  And it fit that he was named after his dad, because he is the only one of my kids that is truly a daddy’s boy. 

The first problem arose at his first doctor’s appointment only days after he was born. 

I finished filling our paperwork at the pediatrician’s office and handed it in, only to be called back up to the reception area.  The receptionist slipped me the clipboard and told me that I’d forgotten to fill in his full name.  I had to explain the whole story, and because I’m a chatterbox, tell her about my granddad and why we hung our 8lb 10oz baby with such a problem of a name.

Problem solved, so I thought. 

The nurse came into the waiting room and looks down at the chart and makes a call for a baby rapper. 

“Emcee A.”  I expected to see a baby with gold chains and a miniature grill.  But, they were looking at me.


The thing was written in all caps on her chart, and so it looked like M-C-A. God love him.  That “c” needs to be lower case for this nonsensical name to even make a lick of sense. 

The next trip to the doctor, a new nurse came to get him.  This one looked at the slew of letters and apparently could make no sense of them, so decided to  incorporate his middle initial into the whole mess. 

She called for “Mcaw.”  Kinda like the bird. 

Oh.  What had I done to this child? 

And heaven help you when you try to call your child by a name that’s something other than what you named him.  Who knew?

I was terrified that he’d have a teacher in kindergarten that insisted on calling him by his given name.  The poor kid would never live down this weird name.  Thankfully, he had a teacher that was so sweet and never blinked at the weirdness I’d saddled him with!

I have an important piece of advice for you if you are going to be naming babies any time soon.   If you have a family member that you’re really fond of, who has a weird name, resist the urge.  Resist, I tell you.


For the sake of all involved. 

Raising kids is hard enough. 

Growing up is hard enough. 

Why make it harder?

You’ll thank me for this advice later. I promise.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. August 30, 2010 9:46 am

    i know a few people who could really benefit from this advice!! how has it been for him on his first day of school each year since?

    • August 30, 2010 9:48 am

      No worries. It’s a small school, and they pretty much know all of the kids. Who knows when he moves up to middle/high/college though!

  2. August 30, 2010 9:52 am

    No grill and gold chains on baby Emcee A? I love it! It will be a great conversation starter when he is older and yes, he will be explaining it his whole life but it will make him unique. I love old man names too which is why I have a Hank. Not Henry, but Hank.

  3. August 30, 2010 12:31 pm

    ha ha, LOVE it! He’ll probably be annoyed with it growing up but I’m sure once he’s an adult he’ll love it and the history behind it! I’m all for using family names…I just give them as middle names 🙂

    It’s a great name, I like it!

  4. August 30, 2010 1:10 pm

    Aw, but you know what? When he grows up, he’s going to be so proud of his name, so there’s that! I think it’s sweet (but, yeah, pretty confusing). My grandfather’s middle name was Paris, and I thought about doing that to my son for a minute. The ex-hubby put the kibosh on that REAL QUICK.

  5. August 30, 2010 3:09 pm

    That’s a very sweet story. He’s lucky to have a name with such a history.

    As I commented on liz’s post, I love old fashioned names, too! My husband nixed all my suggestions, except for the oldest girl (lucky chick *grin*). The other three SHOULD be named Leo, Jack, and Millie, but they’re not 😦

  6. August 30, 2010 5:52 pm

    I love picturing your look around the waiting room, checking out the little ones and looking for the baby rapper! We sure put a lot of thought into the names we stick our kids with, don’t we? In the end, I always love a good story attached to a name….much more fun than just “it was the most popular name that year!”.

    Great job, LL!

  7. August 30, 2010 10:19 pm

    Love hearing the baby name stories!! If my kids’ stories were anywhere as interesting and funny as this one, I’d blog about it too!

  8. August 30, 2010 11:04 pm

    What a sweet story, and really touching way to honor your grandfather! I had a fairly unusual name growing up, and I was always glad it was unique. I bet your son will appreciate it, especially when he gets older… even if he is mistaken for a rapper every now and then.

  9. August 31, 2010 12:14 am

    I found this story to be really interesting – what a unique name story! I really think he’ll appreciate it when he’s older. And, as usual, your humor put a great twist on the story!

  10. August 31, 2010 7:45 am

    I love the stories behind names, and this is a beauty! Sweet and funny.

    I have a William, named after my husband’s grandfather. Grandpa, his father, my husband, and now our son — all Williams and all went/go by nicknames. Wild Bill, Chip, and now Liam.

  11. August 31, 2010 4:05 pm

    O.K…I’m not one that uses the term LOL often…because really…is anyone actually laughing out loud when they type that!! But…I really did laugh out loud…emcee A got it started but Mcaw is what did me in!! Hilarious!!

    Thanks for the timeless advice on child naming, Lula Lola!!

  12. August 31, 2010 8:03 pm

    That part about the emcee A and you looking around for a baby rapper was hilarious! Well, he will always have a story to tell and it’s such a special story. At least he will never be just part of the crowd, the teachers will have to get to know him , it will make him unique and memorable 🙂

  13. September 2, 2010 8:20 pm

    I can totally see the Emmcee A bit happening! No worries. I named my daughter Odessa after a great Aunt who died when she was 5. While it’s sweet, it’s also very different and we get some looks. Especially after hearing the rest of our kids super traditional, uninteresting names! LOL You just can’t win!

  14. September 2, 2010 10:38 pm

    I have not been getting updates of your feed since you switched stuff around! I signed up for e-mail updates again, and hopefully it will work this time!


    I love this post. I like that you went for what you wanted, because in spite of all the trouble it may or may not cause Mack, his name MEANS something! That is a good thing.

    You should hear the names that people give their kids here in Utah. It’s like a competition to see who can make up the weirdest name, except they don’t think the names are weird.

  15. September 13, 2010 7:41 pm

    I’ve missed a lot of posts. I need to check my reader!! Going to catch up.

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