What’s in a name?

With so many pregnant friends out there, the topic of baby names has been tossed around a time or two.

It’s a big decision, huge really. And Michael and I started conversations about this even before I was pregnant. Crazy, I know; but for anyone that knows me and my obsession with planning and lists they would totally get it! (I had my wedding venue and date booked two days after I was engaged.)

But the decision of what name we would bless (or saddle) or child with took much longer. Early conversations were light and breezy, there weren’t really any strong opinions.

“What do you think of Liam?” me. “It’s OK,” him. “How about Drew?” him. “That’s a nice name,” me.

Months into the pregnancy though responses to name inquiries like Otis were returned with, “What are you thinking?” him or Sophia, “Great name but way too popular,” me.

When I got pregnant after my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer, we knew we wanted to honor him in some way with a name. For a boy, we easily decided and agreed that Jeffrey, my dad’s first name, would be the middle name. It was a little harder for the girl. During dad’s courageous fight, our family clung to hope; hope we’d have more time, hope that dad would remain strong and comfortable; hope for a better outcome. I bought “hope” bracelets for us all to wear. So Hope became the middle name for the girl.

First names were a little tougher, although having a middle name already narrowed the field some. We had to find something that went well with Jeffrey or Hope. I looked up baby name lists; I browsed through books in book store aisles; and I scoured my memory for names. We would toss names off each other either getting an “eh” or a “no way.” Michael’s strategy was going through actors or movie or television characters’ names.

“Miles?” he asked. “Miles Jeffrey,” I responded. “I think I like it. No, I love it.” “Me too,” he said.

It’s the name of a character from Star Trek apparently.

Done. We decided we had to stop. We’d settled on something we both liked and knew if we kept tossing out suggestions we would be swayed.

Now onto the girl’s name… We struggled a little more with that one. But Stella was a friend’s niece’s name, and I really liked it. Michael did as well, especially with the middle name Hope.

My dad passed away a little less than a month before we discovered that we were having a boy, but we had decided our name possibilities before that, and I remember sharing them with him. It was during our last family vacation in Brown County. We were in the cabin just hanging out on the couch when I sprung the names on him.

Picture from that Brown County vacation.

Picture from that Brown County vacation.

Dad “got something in his eye” and left the room; so did I.

My mom drove up to Anderson on Feb. 24, 2011, to go to the ultrasound with Michael and me. It was an emotional day; there were lots of tears, nearly all happy, but of course some shed missing dad and wishing he too could be there for that moment.

It's a boy!

It’s a boy!

Dad loved the idea of becoming a grandfather. He said he wanted to teach them to throw a curve ball and write a haiku; so very my dad. Although he’s not going to be here to teach Miles those things, we have already shared lots of “grandpa” stories with him and plan to be sure that he throws a mean curve ball and writes a beautiful haiku.

What went into your baby naming process? Family tradition? Famous person? Compromise? Share your name story here.

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