Friday, December 12, 2014

She Has a Name

Here's the problem. I take the job of naming children VERY seriously. Too seriously, probably. But it's a BIG deal to saddle a kid with a name for a lifetime. I've talked before about all the rules I have for naming children. Don't start yelling at me when you realize that you've broken all my rules. They aren't YOUR rules, they're mine. They don't apply to YOU. They only apply to me.

1. At least one of the names must be biblical. I like to include my faith in the naming of my kids. My deepest desire is that my children will confess that Jesus is Lord and live a life pleasing to Him. I want to pass a piece of my own faith down to them through their names. That being said, I don't want it to be overt, obnoxious, or bizarre. I was totally kidding in my Bible study the other night when I said I was going to name her Beth Shittah. TOTALLY KIDDING.

2. At least one of the names must be a family name. I really like passing names on as a way of honoring those who have gone before us and sharing a piece of our family's heritage with our children. In my family, my brother is Jon. So is my father and my grandfather. So, also, was my great-grandfather. I think it might have even extended a generation or two past that. We decided to make it Garrett's middle name, although we added an "H" because, being that it's in the middle, I thought it would get misspelled all the time if we didn't have it there. Matthew shares his middle name, David, with his dad. And his other middle name, Eric, with his father.

These are definitely the most difficult rules to follow. I mean, you run out of great options for family names pretty quickly, especially with the cycling of names. For example, while Betty was a great name when my grandmother was a kid, I'm just not going to use it in 2015.

Other rules include NO RHYMING and SAY THE NAME ALOUD FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE SO THAT YOU CAN MAKE SURE IT SOUNDS GOOD! The first and last name have to flow independently of the middle name but the entire thing also has to flow when the middle name is included. It's also important that the name sounds good for both a little child and an old man/woman. There are plenty of cutesy names out there for little girls sporting pig tails but when she's old and wrinkly and has grandchildren will it still work? This also goes the other way. In my example above, Grandma Betty sounds great but an infant has a hard time pulling that one off.

Another rule is that we can't have any names that end in B. That's because our last name starts with a B. While I LOVE and ADORE the name Caleb, I don't have my own Caleb because, when said with my last name, the names blend together and it would have sounded like I'd named my son Kayla. That's just no good.

I'm sure I'm missing some (like I said, there are A LOT!) but I can only think of one more. The meaning is incredibly important to me. This is not because I just like having rules. It's because, in the Bible, what the name means is usually more important than what the name actually is. And, I'm not saying that whatever the meaning of our child's name is will somehow dictate what they'll be like but, in the Bible, that was often the case. So I'm not naming my kid something that means Little Hellion or Doormat or Fire-Breathing Dragon.

Garrett John means Spear Rule, God is Gracious.
Matthew David Eric means Gift of God, Beloved, Always Ruler.

So you can see that finding a name that fits all the criteria is a bit difficult. We decided that we needed a boy name just in case. If the baby is born with an appendage we weren't expecting, we don't want to be staring at him wondering what the heck we're going to call him. Surprisingly, we landed on a boy name REALLY quickly. Maybe it's just because we've had so much practice. So...if, come March, we have a third son, we'll call him Will. His name will be...

William Joseph. William is my dad's middle name. We both love Joseph's story in the Bible (O.T. Joseph, although N.T. Joseph is pretty excellent too). His name would mean Strong willed warrior, God will increase. And I LOVE it and I give all of you permission to use it when my daughter is born.

Now, on to the girl name. After thought and discussion and debate, we landed on two girl names that I've been circling for weeks. Troy gave me final say because I'd done the same for him when we couldn't decide between two boy names when I was pregnant with Garrett. I love them both equally and it has been VERY hard for me to choose. I KNOW I have time but choosing a name is one of the things we can do while we wait and I feel like she needs an identity. That being said, I reserve the right (like any of you could stop me) to change her name to the other one (or to Beth Shittah) anytime between now and when she's actually born. I mean, I could take one look at her and she could howl, "That's not my name!"

So...if, come March, we find ourselves with a daughter and she doesn't look at me and scream that she doesn't like it, we'll call her Kate. Her name will be...

Kathryn Ella-Grace. She will be known as Kate but Kathryn was my great-grandmother and is also my great aunt, both of whom I dearly love(d). Ella was part of Troy's great-grandma's name. And, nothing is more important than the grace of God extended to us. I like that even though she'll be called Kate, all three kids will have seven letter first names. As for definition, Ella can mean one of a bajillion different things depending on what language or culture it comes from--it seems to be a name in just about all of them. My favorite is that, in English, it was originally derived from the name Ellen which means Light. So, her name means Pure, Light, Free and unmerited favor of God.

There you have it. There's her name. Unless she's born and she just really looks like a Beth Shittah.


  1. That is adorable!! No Lashondra Makyla huh? :D

  2. You forgot the additional criteria that we both have to like and agree upon a name. Alas, many good names that have survived your stringent criteria have ended up on the cutting room floor (and I might add, a couple more good ones didn't survive the gauntlet of Lori induced criteria).


  3. You're hilarious. :-) But I hear ya about having criteria for names! We do too. Our boys both have strong, traditional Bible names that will grow with them into adulthood. In both cases the names just sort of...came to me. I would be browsing my favorite name website and BOOM, two names stuck together and we just KNEW. Both times that happened it was with boy names. We never could agree on a girl name we both loved, which ended up working out because, y'know, boys. Part of what made girl names difficult was I am determined for a daughter to have my aunt's name as her middle name. And it wasn't easy to find a first name that flowed. Then our oldest went on a "Soul Surfer" kick and I heard the name "Bethany" all the time. Then one day, Bethany rolled around in my brain and bumped into my aunt's name and they're perfect together. BOOM. Girl name. Husband loves it too. Now to convince him it's time for another baby. ;-) Hee hee hee...

  4. Melissa,
    I am now desperate to know your kids names. :-)