We’ve encountered a lot of  skepticism surrounding our baby’s name: Marcail Echo.  No one has flat-out said they don’t like it but we get a lot of, “Huh, that’s different” or “Interesting choice, how did you choose that?”  It also seems to have generated a lot of confusion over pronunciation (is it McKay? Mikkhail? Mercale?  Marquise? Marsale? Are we going to call her Marci?).

For those interested, we chose the name from a book series Jason and I read together when we first started dating (way back in 1998).  Funnily enough, the series (four novels in the young adult, historical fiction genre) doesn’t even come close to ranking in either Jason’s or my all-time favorite books.  However, we were drawn to the name for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is that we’d like to pass on our love of reading to our daughter.  In addition, Marcail is a strong and sweet character in a book that Jason and I shared in the infancy of our relationship.  Finally, it’s a beautiful and distinctive name, without being too ‘weird’ or ‘made up.’  According to web sources, Marcail is a derivative of Margaret, most likely Scottish, meaning, ‘Little Pearl,’ related to names like Margarita, Megan and Gretchen. 

We chose Echo as a tribute to one of my favorite places on Earth: Echo Lake, California.  In addition to being a shining example of Mother Nature’s best work, the place is intrinsically linked to the relationship and friendship I have with my mom.  Her family used to have a summer cabin on the lake and all of my memories of the place (as well as all the memories that other members of the family have shared with me, spanning back 50+ years) are nothing but beautiful and happy.  I can’t wait to share the place and all the wonderful family history with my daughter (and I know that my mom will love to share her childhood haunts and family stories as well).  But even more important to me than actually physically taking her there, is that she know that I’ve been dreaming of taking her there and making her part of all my favorite family memories (much like my mom did for me) for longer than I can even remember.  Even though Marcail will never get to meet many members of the Alber family (or the Pattersons or Noblins or Munos, for that matter), I want her to feel connected to her family’s past as well as being an integral part of its future.  Perhaps using a more traditional naming convention (naming her after a family member or giving her a family maiden name as a middle name) would have served the same purpose, but I”m not sure it would have connected her to  so many people or meant quite as much to my mom and me. 

With so many negative reactions, I’d started to feel a little guilty about our name choice.  As much as I LOVE the name, I don’t want to burden my daughter with a name that’s too far out there or hard to pronounce but then I get reactions like this one (from a blogging community I frequent):

@Qwen: many congrats for baby-girl-on-the-way! I think Marcail Echo is mouth-wateringly gorgeous – distinctive, elegant, and quirky, but with the weight of history and mythology behind it. Echo is on my middle names list (in case there’s ever another wee girl in our family :). Best wishes for a continued healthy pregnancy.

…and I can’t help but feel proud and excited all over again for the name that Jason and I have put so much thought and love into… and for the little girl who will one day embody it.

w/ love
– Crystal