My son’s name is Rhys (pronounced Reese). I got the name while I was reading Sharon Kay Penman’s “Welsh Princes” series. Those books are fantastic historical fiction but absolutely devastating. My mother’s grandmother was named Gladys and my Mom’s family is very English/Welsh/Cornish. Many people think it’s a “new” name like something a celebrity would choose, it’s a really old name.
Now for the fun part, it’s a Celtic spelling. Lots and lots of people in America have Celtic ancestry and there are lots of Celtic names out there. But his name is going to be mispronounced a lot. Lots of people were like “where did you get that name?”, I explained it was from a book. My husband made the comment “are they allergic to vowels in Wales?” True story this is an actual place in Wales- Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. No, my cat did not step on my keyboard. Thanks, maternal ancestors! Rhys is called “Rice” a lot. Or Rise. Or “R…how do you pronounce this?” I realized, much like when you decide where you want to go college, everyone has an opinion about names. Is it an unfair burden to put on my son to have to constantly tell people who to pronounce his name? Some would say yes. But I love his name. It’s perfect for him. It’s one syllable. It is easy to say, lots of kids in his daycare who are just learning to speak point him out and say “Rhys!” So in no particular order here are a few reasons why having a unique name rocks.
- It’s old and new again.
Like I said, I picked up the name while reading a book about the 12th century. It’s a classic-like red lipstick and good denim. It’s not trendy and it’s not going to go out of style.
- It means something.
It honors my mother and in Welsh it means “enthusiasm.” It fits his personality perfectly! It’s not a name that I feel there are odd connotations with. Not many famous people have that name and it’s not a name that people hear and make assumptions about. I don’t feel it’s pretentious.
- It’s a conversation starter.
Lots of people are curious about the name. I explain the story of how I found it, how it was a Tudor ancestor, and how it fits my little boy. I always wanted my kids to have literary names or names from books.
- It’s memorable.
When we found out we were pregnant we realized that boys names were easier than girl’s names but there are so many little boys with the same name. My sister is a Katy who was born in the eighties. Let that sink in. So many Kat(ies/ys/eys)! Little boys get names that have these long odd histories. Rhys, like Daenarys Targaryen in Game of Thrones, is the first of his name. His middle name is my father’s name so he’s carrying that on.
- I like it.
If he wants to change it or go by a nickname that isn’t Rhysie Cup or Rhysie Piecey, he can. However, at the end of the day, he is my son and I got to choose his name.
Do you have a unique name or did you chose an unusual name for your child? Is there a really cool story behind it? Let me know in the comments!