Sunday, November 28, 2010

What's In A Name?

 (My absolute favorite picture so far of my five children taken together!!)

My children ask lots of 'why' questions.
Lots.
The questions make me crazy and I often get tired of answering them.
So I frequently have a standard answer.
"Why is the sky blue?"
and "Why is your name...?"
My point being, sometimes there is no real answer.
Except, there is kind of an answer to 'Why is your name...?'
Hopefully they know the answer.
(And though I've told some of these 'stories'  before, I wanted them all together in one nice little (LONG) entry...

Megan Eliza
Clear back in junior high I decided my first girl would be Megan.  It seemed every Megan I knew was pretty and for some reason, my junior high mentality must have equated the two together.   I found out Megan was a girl while I was pregnant, but I wasn't sure she would be named Megan. There were a few other names I liked too. I made a chart that hung on the fridge that had the days of the week and what we would call our baby if she was born on a certain day. (The name 'Megan' was the only name on the chart more than once.) When Megan was born, I told Mike to go out to the waiting room and tell family members she had finally arrived.  Before he would go out he asked, "What's her name going to be?" I replied, "I don't know yet, just go tell them she's born." This dialogue went back and forth 3-4 times, until Mike said, "Is it going to be Megan?" and I said firmly, "FINE-It will be Megan. NOW GO TELL THEM SHE IS BORN!"
When Megan was just a few hours old, a family member (who shall remain nameless) said, "So what are you going to name her?" Mike replied, "Megan." The family member said, "Give us some more choices to choose from."
(That is not what you want to hear when you have just named your brand new first-born baby!!!!!!!)
Eliza was chosen as Megan's middle name after my Granny, Violet Eliza.

Luke Michael
I remember during my pregnancy with Luke throwing out lots of different names.  Samuel, Luke, Jacob, Joshua, Oliver, Liam, etc. etc.   Although Luke seemed a clear favorite of mine, Mike didn't really love any of them (surprise, surprise!) and we really had reached no decision.  The summer preceeding Luke's birth, was a very difficult, challenging time for Mike and me. Many serious decisions lingered overhead, Mike was struggling with some major life changes, and I was doing my best to support him.  It was no secret that I was frequently heard to say to Mike, "The timing of this baby couldn't be any worse."  One summer day, a friend of Mike's, mature in years and life experiences happened to drop by.  Sensing our struggles, Jim asked Mike if he could give Mike and me a blessing.  The only thing I remember being said was, "The baby you are carrying will bring a much needed light into your family."  I was humbled and said nothing more of the 'bad timing.'

Towards the end of my pregnancy with Luke, I laid in bed during General Conference flipping through a name book.  I found the name Luke.  It read 'Bringer of Light.'  I couldn't believe what I just read.  My decision was made.  I knew the Lord knew us and He loved us.  We have never forgotten that experience.  And though our world remained 'dark' for another year and a half or so, Luke was a much needed light that continually shone through.
Michael was chosen as Luke's middle name, after Mike!

Ellie Louise
When Megan was about a year old, I remember driving down the street and deciding that my next daughter would be named Annie.  Though I didn't 'find out' what Ellie was during my pregnancy, I knew she was a little girl.  I never considered any boy names, and really not any other girl names.  Her name was already picked out, 'Annie Louise.'  Ellie was born in the evening.  A couple of hours after Ellie was born, Mike and the kids left the hospital and it was just my new baby and me in the hospital room alone. I could not settle, I could not rest. I could not name my baby Annie.  She wasn't an Annie. I shed a few tears, and had no other name choice, but she was not Annie.  Mike came the next morning and I broke the news to him, that her name couldn't be Annie.  Of course he had no suggestions, only opinions.  I remember only saying three name choices, he scoffed at the first two and laughed out loud at the third, 'Eleanor.' "Well, what about Ellie instead?' I suggested.  He didn't really like it, but was not wanting to go up against a hormonal-just-delivered-a-baby-woman.  Ellie it was.  It just felt right, and even though my 'room-mate' in the hospital named her baby, Annie.  I didn't look back.  Ellie's name for 'some reason', was not Annie.
Louise was chosen as Ellie's middle name after my mom, Christine Louise and her grandmother, Edith Louise.

Joshua Jace
I have a list of names I wrote down when I was eleven years old to name my future children.  Joshua is on the list. The name 'Joshua' was never mentioned more than once or twice when considering a name for Luke, but it was a definite consideration with number four.  Though I did not choose to 'find out' Joshua was a boy, I had had an experience that left me fairly certain I was going to have a boy.  Though I doubted it (lacked faith) at times, I never considered a girls name.  Besides, I always had 'Annie' to fall back on.  In the hours after Joshua was born, I was torn between two names.  Joshua and Dallin.  I loved them both. My biggest drawback for the name Joshua was because I wanted the name to be called JoshUA.  I did not want a name that could be shortened.  But, as I thought back to my childhood list of future names, I chose Joshua.    (When Joshua was three months old, I spent the evening with a group of ladies, after a few hours, one of the ladies said to me, "Do you ever just say Josh?"  I replied no.  And even three and a half years later, I can honestly say, neither Mike or me or any of our children have EVER called him Josh!)  Incidentally, a couple of weeks ago while driving home from church, Joshua asked, "Why do they say 'Josh' to me in nursery?"
Jace was chosen as Joshua's middle name as a combination of my brothers Casey and James.

Drew William
Though I desperately wanted my last baby to be a boy, I could not come up with any boy name that felt right.  Of course, I did not 'find out' Drew was a boy and speculation was all we had to go by.  'Annie' was still clearly the choice for a girl.  I continually attempted to convince myself and those around me that 'it' was a girl because I only had a girl name option.  About three weeks before Drew was born, I laid on the couch in our loft while the children played.  With no particular focus on baby names, I suddenly thought of the name Drew.  I dismissed it almost immediately.  Upon mentioning the name to Mike, he quipped, "I don't particularly like the idea of naming a child a past-tense of a verb."  Nothing more was said about the first name.  Unlike the previous four pregnancies, we did not have a middle name picked out prior to a first name.  Knowing this baby would be the last, and considering the other four children were named after my side of the family, I asked Mike who he would like to name our baby after.  He had no opinion (surprise!!!). We were going to choose Peter (after my dad) as the middle name, but it seemed too close to my cousin, Andrew Peter if we did actually decide on Drew.   I pushed and prodded and nagged and complained for Mike to choose a middle name.  He didn't.  So I referred Mike to the fact that he frequently talks about his Grandpa Williams.  (Although I wasn't really keen on his grandpa's first or middle name as an option.)   In the end we decided that because Mike had dearly loved his Williams grandparents, we (I) chose 'William' as a close-enough match to 'WilliamS.'  (Additionally, I loved the reference to English royalty.) 

My brother and his fairly new wife had been at a family dinner with us the day before Drew was born when we all sat discussing baby names.  Everybody knew my girl choice was 'Annie', and my dear-somewhat-new-sister-in-law at the time kept quiet because that was 'her' baby name.  She later told us she desperately hoped Drew would not be a girl.  Eight months after Drew was born, we visited my brother and sister-in-law's brand new baby girl.  They had just named her Annie.  Though I do not think names are pre-destined, fore-ordained or necessarily of any eternal significance, I finally knew as I held baby Annie, why I had never used the name.  Ellie loves, loves, loves cousin Annie.  Sometimes I can't help but believe Ellie and Annie knew each other before this life, and I often contemplate whether or not it was their little spirits that whispered to me in that hospital room in Orem in 2004 not to name Ellie, Annie.

Someone once commented to me, 'It's the kid that makes the name, not the name that makes the kid.'  I have found that to be truer than true.
Megan. Luke. Ellie. Joshua. Drew.
I can't imagine them with any other name.

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