What’s in a name?

I get asked about the origins of my name all the time. Seriously. Most people think it’s Italian (which I think is great since I ♥ Italy). Actually, the story is even better: it was the creativity of an eight-year-old boy.

Living next door meant that Jeremiah, the son of my mother’s best friend, was privy to the endless name discussions… Serena, Sabrina, Gabrielle, Arielle, Ariana, Jacinda… The list went on.

“Why don’t you just name her Gabriana?” asked Jeremiah in exasperation, still wishing for a boy.

And, at once, everyone knew that was the name.

As a kid I was called by shorter versions, which I never much liked. (A best friend’s grandmother was the only one to call me Gabi, may her memory be a blessing.) But when I turned 13 and had my Bat Mitzvah, I began using the full name.

I’ve found it’s rare to meet another Gabriana (only once actually — her mother sought me out on the name connection and we became friends). I enjoy having a unique name, even if it means people get it wrong all the time. It’s also a little too easy for blind dates to find me online.

All things considered, I love my name and am thankful for Jeremiah’s early genius (he grew up to work with Jerry Bruckheimer), which allows me to get away with just using one name.

This special birthday (week) post is dedicated to Jeremiah, the baby-namer.

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