What's in a Name?

August 14, 2009

We decided on our son's name, Mateo Kenika Carpenter, when I was only about 2 months pregnant. We talked it over for one evening, and by the next morning, Michael and I were both set on this name.

"Mateo" is a Spanish version of Matthew. It means "gift" or "gift of god." I came across the name in a pair of novels by Marisa de los Santos: Love Walked In and Belong to Me (not cheesy romances as the titles might suggest). In the books, Mateo (or Teo for short) is a wise, thoughtful, gentle man. That aside, I just love the sound of the name and that it is not very common (at least in the U.S.).

Kenika, which is the Hawaiian version of the name Dennis (my dad's name), came from a book that Michael and I read after our vacation to Maui last year: The Red Wind by Ian Macmillan. Michael and I both loved this book about a haole (white man) who becomes immersed in Hawaiian culture and learns to build canoes . . . a sacred and dying art on the islands. The character, Kenika, reminded both of us of my dad in his simple yet profound relationship to nature and the creative process of building.


SerineKat said...

Cool name. I still like Ruprecht (think Dirty Rotten Scoundrels)... but that's the smart ass in me. Your little man is blessed to be born into such a loving family and network of amazing friends.

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