What’s in a name?

I always think it is fun to hear the story behind a name, so I thought it would be fun to share ours. We have two children, a daughter – Catherine Joy, and a son – Theodore David. A little backstory on us and child naming – we have been talking about child names since an early part of our relationship. Not in a cute, “aww, we’re going to have kids together one day” way, but as in Andy had a list of names, that I thought were… hmm… how to say this… interesting. 😉 And a regular discussion in our college days was what crazy names our kids would have if Andy had the only say over it.

So here’s the story of how our kids’ names came to be. I have developed a few criteria for kids’ names and then just hope that we can find a name that Andy also likes and fits my preferred rubric. Because the only items that overlap on our rubrics are numbers 2 and 4. The other items are different. lol. I can hear my brother laughing at me now. And I should note that if you asked Andy why we picked each name, his story would be different because he also likes the names but for different reasons. This is just my side of the story.

My four-part rubric:

The first one is name meaning. Something that has always stuck out to me in the Bible the power and meaning of a name. Throughout the Bible, people are named according to their purpose or a theological truth. I love that and I’ve wanted to achieve that for my children but the task seems daunting. How am I supposed to know what their personality is going to be like, or the purpose God has for them?

The second is some kind of Christian connection. Whether it is a Biblical name or a Saint name, I want the name to have some connection to our faith.

Third, a family connection. I like to find a name that has a tie to one of our family members. I think it is a special heritage to pass along.

Finally, but honestly the real make or break on a name decision for us, we just have to like it. There are names that have fit my first 3 criteria but I just don’t like. So then back to the drawing board we go.

Catherine Joy

We both liked the name Catherine from the beginning. I have some dear friends with a version of the name, but neither of them spell it exactly this way, which I liked. I also wanted the spelling of Catherine with a C because my maiden name starts with a C and I like that little connection. For a stronger family connection, my maternal grandmother’s name is Joy and Andy has always liked the name Joy so that just seemed to fit. Andy likes virtue names (one of those things on his rubric but not on mine ;)) so when we put the two together and I realized the meaning of the name was “Pure Joy”, I was sold. And Catherine has lived up to her name, which makes me so happy. Also, I like the connection to St. Catherine of Siena, one of the Doctors of the Church.

Theodore David

Boy names are hard for us. We liked Theodore, then we scrapped it, then mulled over a few more names and eventually came back to Theodore. Two things did it for me on the name Theodore – the meaning and just how much Catherine loved it. While I was pregnant, we would try out different names with Catherine and she loved the name “Feadore!” and even asked us if she could keep saying it. Then I looked up the name and realized it means “gift from God”, and well, the meaning is always what does it for me on a name. Then we had to figure out a middle name. Looking up name meanings, I learned that David means “beloved”, so Theodore’s full name means “Beloved Gift from God” and I hope he always knows that we think of him that way. Additionally, David is the name of my uncle who died right before Catherine was born. He didn’t have any children and I thought using his name for a middle name was a nice way to honor him. For Christian connections, of course there’s David in the Bible, man after God’s own heart, but there’s also a pretty cool St. Theodore as well.

So that’s it, haha. Do I overthink things or what? But I figure if there’s something to overthink, it is something your child is going to have for their whole life. 🙂


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