Say Your Name

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.

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Now you know the origins of “Raina” – which yes, also translates to Queen in Spanish!

7 Comments

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  1. I love this! What a neat story about your name! I don’t know that I’ve met any other Rainas, but it makes sense that there are Rainas because of its meaning in Spanish. My name is super popular. My mom wanted to name me Catherine but didn’t want to offend her mother by naming me after her mother’s twin sister. So they came up with Kaitlin, but didn’t know at the time that there was a TV show with a main character named Kaitlin. Hence, the popularity. When I was a kid, one of my great delights was playing pretend using different names. However, I’ve always liked my name and wouldn’t change it now!

    Also, I feel your pain about the personalization thing. Too many ways to spell Kaitlin! Though I could resort to Kate. 😉

    • That’s still a fun story about your name! Being the oldest sister means we have fun name stories. I figured you would’ve been able to find personalization items with Kaitlin, but I’m sure it was more often done as Caitlin!

  2. Love your first name story! It’s cool to have a unique name that also has family ties 🙂 I’m named after my mom’s twin sister, which is fun. Luckily we have different nicknames or it would be confusing!

  3. It was so interesting to read about the origin of your name (and it IS a lovely name!) and how you were so thoughtfully named. We tried to do that when we named our sons. I came from a family of 6 girls and so no sons meant that our family’s last name would not continue. Therefore, one of my sons has my last name as his middle and the other has his grandmother’s last name as his middle. Having a story for your original name is intriguing to others. Thanks for sharing it with your readers!

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