What's in a name

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

When I was 10 years old, my mom gave me a silver ring that was a band of laurel leaves. She told me that in ancient Greece they awarded the Olympic victors with a crown of Laurel leaves which was the meaning of my name, victory. I always loved how she told me that. I felt extra special that day.

Just last week at the basketball game a lady working the concession stand asked Blair what her name was. After Blair replied, the lady looked at me and said that I must be Charley's mom and commented on what fun names we give our kids. I am asked quite often about how we've come up with our children's names. And just in case you're wondering, here's how their first names came to be...

1. Belén Thérèse: Belén's first name is Belén Thérèse, (like Mary-Kate) only I could never get anyone to say it fully which drove me nuts so I went along and shortened it. It is a Spanish name which, my late mother being Mexican, always wanted to use but never did so I let her name my first baby. (Unless it turned out to be a boy and then we'd have to think of something else.) It means Bethlehem and Thérèse means Harvester. People have not always been shy to tell me that her name is "unusual" but I love it and more importantly, she loves it and likes being the only Belén around and being known by one name.

2. Charley: One of my best friends, Tracy Tyler, gave us the name. Long before I had my 2nd baby, we were talking about names and she said she loved Charley, for a girl. I remember she said it sounded like a fun, crazy girl running all over the house name. So when we were expecting baby #2, I asked her if we could use it if we had a girl. She was so happy and said, "Oh my gosh, yes!!!" It's the diminutive form of Charles meaning free man, or in this case for a girl, free or strong woman/womanly. People always ask if her name is short for anything and she happily says, "No, it's just Charley."

3. Reese: Long before any famous Reese's, (besides the candy) there was Reese Kahler. He was one of Jon's best friends from our highschool. When Jon was the new kid in school and entered in a place with long established friendships starting from Kindergarten, Reese handed Jon an invitation to his 14th birthday party. There he introduced him to all his friends and they all went on to be best friends. Reese became a Kindergarten teacher and died suddenly in 1999. His whole class was at the funeral with drawings in hand of their beloved teacher. Jon gave the most beautiful eulogy. And 20 years later, those friends still get together for a weekend of golf, fishing and all sorts of male bonding. The name Reese means Running. When we go to the Hershey factory tour, he's been known to score extra candy because of his name.

4. Blair: I have always loved the name Blair and wanted to name a girl after my dad and oldest brother. When the baby was being born and the Dr. said, "We have a girl!" I knew I had my chance. Jon loved it too and so little Blair it was. Her name means Field. I love to hear her name because it always reminds me of home. I want to take photographs of her in a beautiful field this summer.

5. Trae: I knew I wanted to stay true to the less-common, being known by one name, name but I was stumped. I had a girl's name chosen but no boy. We thought of using another family name but it wasn't working. Then one day I was going through a vintage French dictionary and ran across the word, Trae, which means three. I liked it. So I ran it by Jon and we both agreed if we had a boy, which would be the third boy in the family, his name would be Trae. He is now known by Trae-man and often introduces himself as such.

And there you go - more than you ever wanted to know about my kids' names!

How about you? How did you/do you decide on names?


  1. I love everyone of those names. I bet the kids love the history about them too.

  2. What a lovely post Laura Lynn ! Love your children's names !

    We have a grandson named Blair who is named after our son's favorite very admired Young Men's leader.

    We named all of our kids with family names. Our twins are named for their 2 grandfathers, our daughter is named for a beloved cousin I grew up with ( my 1st name is the middle name ) and our 2 younger sons are named for my husband and my maternal grandfather.

    Nice but if I had to do it all over again, their names would all be more unique, not so traditional.

  3. This is fun. I sort of want to copy. If you see it in the near future on my blog, just know that I copied.

  4. Thank you all! I love family names, Nonna.

    Carrie - feel free to use anything!

  5. Though definitely not heard every single day, the names don't seem very strange. People are so odd. They are lovely names, and I am sure you can't imagine your littles by any other names at all.


  6. I get a little crazy about meanings of names. And now I feel like many there were inspired, because they could not be more accurate for each child.


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