Rafa Mishra-Vakaoti

Rafa’s little keepsake box is from Keeps

I knew if I had a son I would hyphenate his surname, the way I did mine when Patrick and I got married. The length of this hyphenated surname would mean that the child’s first name would need to be short. I speak from experience. Having to write “Vanisha Mishra-Vakaoti” over, and over is so fun task.

We didn’t know the sex of our baby but from the very beginning I would constantly say, “he’s a boy”. Even after a few minutes of Rafa being on earth, we had no idea what we had. Until I heard Patrick say, “it’s a boy”. That day we struggled to remember to call him Rafa. We were calling him Peanut, which is what we called our baby during the pregnancy. But I’ve jumped right ahead.

We only ever had one name picked out for a boy, and no name for a girl until just a few weeks before our baby was born. So convinced I was that this baby was a boy. I was in bed, rubbing my belly when Patrick came and sat right by me. “What about Raf for a boy?” [I said]. He made the point that it would be a name that’s rather difficult to relate to for our Fijian and Indo-Fijian families. “What about Rafa?” [this is Patrick]. And that was it. I loved the name. It was short. Easy to pronounce. Rafa isn’t named after anyone. His name isn’t short for anything. It doesn’t mean anything, to our knowledge anyway. It’s just Rafa. Rafa Mishra-Vakaoti.

Since we picked out the name I couldn’t help but imaging Rafa with long hair, a constant tan, and a surfboard tucked under his arm. People ask if I think Rafa will get a PhD like Patrick and I. I don’t know, but in my mind he’ll surf and paint and say “jokes mum” and “chill mum”.  And drive me batty. A taxi driver asked what his name was when he was about two months old and I said “Rafa”, and he replied instantly, “that’s a real chick magnet kinda name!” I almost cried, this is my baby boy you’re talking about mister.

I love Rafa’s name. I love how it came about. How it was the only option we had. And how I think it suits him so splendidly.

I’ve love to hear about how you named your little one, or how you were named? I’ll share a little more on Instagram if you’d like to join the conversation there.

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