Today’s prompt is from The Daily Post: Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?
When I was in pre-school, our teachers made every single person their own bean bag. It was a simple little item, but we got to help fill up our small bags with beans. Mine was purple – my color of choice much of my youth – with a simple embroidered ‘R A I N A’ across the center of the bag. For the longest time, I considered this small bean bag one of my greatest possessions. Why? It was one of the only personalized possessions I owned. Having a unique name, or “made up” name, meant there were no mini-license plates, pencils and pens, or other tourist ephemera in my future. Nowadays, kids with weird names can easily have “stuff” made with their name on it. In the late 80s, early 90s, this was not as common. Regardless, I loved that bean bag. It was such a treasure to have something with my name on it (side note: pretty sure I still have it in storage somewhere).
I’ve told the origin story of my name countless times. With an unusual name like Raina, it happens almost on a weekly basis. I’m fortunate to be named after both of my maternal grandparents. I never met either of them — they passed away before I was born — but I’m fortunate to be connected to them for life.
My first name derives from my grandmother. Her name was Lorraine, but her nickname as a child was Rainie… which is how my Mom settled on Raina. She says she always planned to name her first daughter Raina. My middle name Joe is derived from my grandfather, Joseph. Much to the displeasure of my Irish paternal grandmother, neither was particularly Irish in origin (hence the quote: “Raina is a made-up name”). My sister, Shannon, holds down our Irish roots.
Although I had moments in my childhood where I hated my name, I have grown to love it as an adult. If given the choice, I would definitely not rename myself. Considering I’ve only ever met a handful of Raina’s throughout my life, it is an easy way to distinguish myself. According to the Social Security Administration, Raina is still an uncommon name, with only 277 births in the United States in 2014.
Now you know the origins of “Raina” – which yes, also translates to Queen in Spanish!