We knew our baby’s name would start with a D. We’d known for years. It has been my family’s tradition to pass on the first initial of a loved one who’s passed away to the next generation – for instance, I’m named after my great-Zayda, Samuel Lev. So, 12 years ago when my father, Donny, passed away, I started thinking. 4 years after that, my Aunt Devorah, too, passed away, and I continued to collect ideas, despite the fact that it would still be 7 more years before our son was born.
The girl names were difficult, none felt right, and the morning of our ultrasound, when our intuition (and technician) “told us we were having a son, we further embarked on the idea of finding the D name that would carry our boy into his life, hold him in the warmth of family traditions, remind us of the beauty of those we’d lost, and represent what we loved – our family, our son, our joys, our creative pursuits, and our hopes for him.
We shared with friends and family that we were searching for The D Name. Names came flooding in over email, phone calls, texts…Dylan, Derek, Darius, Drew, Daniel, Dana? Several tried to guess and/or suggest, and in the process we were…taking names.
In a stream of D texts, my oldest childhood friend suggested “Dorian.” The name stood out for a handful of reasons. Being lovers of literature, Oscar Wilde seemed like a good, strong reference. As music enthusiasts and dabblers in theory, we listened to and learned about the Dorian mode. We tossed the name around the immediate family to gauge their reaction, and then, when we produced the idea of the nickname “Dor,” my mother and Bubbe paused. “L’Dor v’dor” struck a chord. In Hebrew, it literally translates to “from generation to generation.” More profound explanations refer to cyclical movement through generations, the spiritual passing on of knowledge, tradition, and family. My husband, who is not Jewish, looked up from the web page explaining this Psalm passage and simply said, “Well, there it is: Dorian.”
At the young age of 2 1/2, our Dorian has embraced his name. He sings along to the letters – D O R I A N – when asked how to spell his name (despite the fact that he does not yet know how to spell). It’s a gentle lullaby to hum when soothing, comforting, calming, or snuggling him, “Dori.” It’s enjoyable to hear his young friends learn to pronounce it, “Doreen, Dordi, Dor-dor.” He giggles when we call him “Dor-jam, Dor-man, Dor-stop, or Doreo.” And he brings to life a concept that lies beyond our full comprehension, about what it means to be a journeyman from one generation to another generation: L’Dor v’dor. Dorian. D. Our little Dor.