Naming Souls

I’ve been birthing kids a solid ten years longer than most people my age so I think I can say with earned authority that ain’t nobody got time for stupid baby names. Go with me, if you will, on this crunchy granola crazy Christian journey:
I believe the names we give our kids can be eerily prophetic to their individual personalities or life paths. Take Cheyenne, for example. I was 15 when I had her so an expert in the land of choosing monikers for human beings I was not. It wasn’t until I tried to buy her a customized name-meaning plaque at a kiosk in the mall that I learned “Cheyenne”, literally translated, meant “unintelligible speaker.” Funny story: I HAVE NEVER UNDERSTOOD THAT GIRL NOR WILL I FOR A MILLION YEARS. (Not to mention she was one Cheyenne out of 50,000 others in her kindergarten class. Fail.)

I vowed to be more thoughtful with my next child’s name. 8 years later, my Mia Alaina was born. Simple, Italian; not off the wall but not technically popular either, at least not at the time. She truly is “My dear one.”

We all know the story of Merrick, and how I only liked the name because of Gerard Butler, who played a character named Marek in a movie that I saw at a theater that I may or may not have snuck into without paying. We decided to spell it “Merrick,” which means in Irish, a fork in the river. His birth marked a major turning point in our lives, one where we abruptly turned from one path and went a completely new direction.

The name Arbor seemed to have it all: it was unusual; short; beautiful; it invoked images of climbing roses and summer gardens; it had an “I am the vine and you are the branches” Jesus vibe which honored our faith, in a way.I loved the connotation of strength the name Arbor implied. And then God bestowed upon me the most strong-willed, heel-diggingest child the universe has ever known.

(Side note: I think we can all agree on the accuracy of my name, Antoinette, which means “priceless”.)

You guys, it is serious business, naming souls. I’m reminded of that movie “Where the Heart Is”, and that girl who admitted to an old black man she was thinking of naming her baby “Wendi with an i.” “Girl, don’t you dare! Give that baby a good strong name!” He does not hesitate two seconds to tell her. It is the best advice any fictional character ever gave to any other fictional character.

My kids gotta have that strong name, and I don’t care how impossible it might make them as toddlers. They got to have that sweet name, that God-honoring name, that “I-know, my-mom’s-an-artist” name. So far about 0% of our choices have been well-received and that’s ok.

Go for the name. Go for the bizarre name. Go for the grandpa name. Go for the popular name that been at #1 on the charts for 8 years in a row. Go for the name that is meaningful to you. Go for the name that embodies every dream you have for your precious child. Never mind when people say “Oh, that’s definitely unique” or “That’s boring as hell.” Don’t worry about the haters that openly gag at the thought of a baby named Bernadette (meaning: brave as a mother-freakin’ bear.) 

You just go on with your bad self and name that baby, who God entrusted to you, with every ounce of love in your whole heart.

And when you’re done, be supportive of other parents who are trying to do the same.


About Toni

Mom. Wife. Artist. I take care of the kids and pretend to clean sometimes. I can cook spagetti and I have never been arrested. View all posts by Toni

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