Let’s talk about baby naming. It’s hard! Harder than I thought.

I know I’ve written before about how, as a little girl, I never envisioned my wedding but I definitely day dreamed about being a mom. I have thought about baby names my entire life. So it should have been easy enough to stop the buck and decide names for these little dudes.

However, both pregnancies the process of finalizing our names was a little harder than I expected.

Lucas is a name that both Eric and I have loved for years. Not long after we got married we heard the name a few different places and it fit so many of the things we consider when naming.

  • Can’t start with A
  • Can’t end in -er or -or (due to rhyming with our last name)
  • Has to be a name that would work for everything from a CEO to a ski instructor
  • It has to be a name that you’ve heard before, but not so common that there will be three of the same name in the kid’s kindergarten class (unfortunately Lucas got really trendy by the time he was born so we’re already contending with this)
  • No other family members or jerks that you know with that name already
  • And, once we had Luke, we didn’t want a name that started with L or rhymed with Lucas

It should have been a slam dunk to formalize Luke’s name during our pregnancy, but for the fact that, I had in my heart named our angel baby Lucas. It felt to me that since that baby would have so little — nothing really — that the least we could do was give him the best name. Meanwhile, Eric’s opinion was different — that the universe is far more complicated and humorous than we could ever know and that it was likely we’d get that soul back again in some way. I think carrying the baby for 16 weeks versus being a first time dad, we were just at different places in terms of the bond we felt at that time. We’re oddly comfortable about having wildly differing opinions in our marriage so we didn’t have a problem not sussing it out more fully.

However, it was hard when Eric wanted to use the name and I was reluctant, wanting to save it.

At some point during my pregnancy with Luke, my mom and I were talking about genealogy and she shared that it was very common generations ago for subsequent children to be named after a child that had passed. Writing it, that sounds a little morbid but given that we’d never had a funeral, gotten a birth certificate or even gotten to see our first son, it gave me a sense of peace thinking about the boys sharing something special.

Still, I wanted to get through the delivery and see the baby’s face before we named him. I wanted to look in his eyes and see if he looked like a Lucas (or Logan, Garrett or Sean, which were our runners up). So, nearly immediately after Luke landed on my chest, Eric was excitedly asking if we could make the final call on the name.

I was so exhausted. And Luke was nestled so high under my neck that I could see his face anyway. That I really didn’t feel ready to call the name. But — people were waiting — we had a baby to announce and I knew that it would thrill my husband to the ends of the earth. So, Lucas James was formally named and in the years since I couldnt imagine him being called anything else. He actually only calls himself Lucas (Lew-tas is actually how it sounds want he says it), and the meaning of his name, to bring light, is so apt. He brightened up our lives and I think he brought with him more than two babies worth of love. James is Eric’s father’s name and it was actually what I would have been named were I a boy. (Plus I love that he and Ellis share a middle name.)

When we decided not to find out the sex during Sean’s pregnancy, we already had our favorite girl name on standby, Jillian Irene, so we only had one name to decide anyway.

Jillian was chosen because I love the name Lillian and Eric loves the name Jade but we couldn’t compromise. Meanwhile jokingly one night I proposed the mashup of the names and it turned out we both really liked it. Jills would have been her nickname but I’ll put it out to the blogsphere if someone else would like it. That ship has officially sailed.

Irene is my maternal grandmother’s middle name and my sister Heather’s middle name. I know that we’d be able to tell a boatload of people we loved them with that name.

Picking a boy’s name this last pregnancy took us so much longer. We dusted off some of the finalists for Luke — Garrett, Logan and Sean all came back up in discussion. We also talked about Bradley and William pretty seriously and probably a dozen others in passing at one time or another.

The final weeks we were down to two options Sean Philip or William Harrison.

Will is a name that we both really liked. It also happens to be the main character in our favorite children’s series, The Castle in the Attic. And Harrison is a mashup of Harry, which is what we called my grandfather when he was being contrary, and Anderson, my maiden name. Philip is my dad’s and grandfather’s name.

On the night of our induction, we were in our yard looking at the super moon with Lucas before we headed out to the hospital. Eric pulled up an ap that tracks stars to show Luke some of the constellations. As luck would have it, the star my sister had named for our first baby was positioned directly above our house that night. There have been moments during the last four years that have brought me to weeping at the randomness and wonder of life. But this one takes the cake. We’ve only been positioned under that star one other night that we know of. On his due date when we were in Hawaii. Every other time we’ve looked, it’s been below the horizon probably shining down on the southern hemisphere somewhere. I know that sweet soul is a part of our family forever and that each of our boys who came home with us carry a piece of their brother.

Sean means a gift from God. As soon as I saw that star, it was locked in for me. Our boys — all three of them — have been amazing gifts and I have absolutely come to agree with Eric that the universe is infinitely more complicated and humorous than we can ever know.