The Naming Game ...

by Kristi Van Dyk in

I realized that I have never elaborated on this blog about how and why we came about the names we did for our children. Since I was a sophomore in high school and my 10A English teacher asked us to introduce ourselves, explaining WHY we were named the way were, I wanted to make sure I had a sufficient answer if I was ever asked about my future children. This made the naming process quite a bit more difficult, since I wanted significance to the name and Steve wanted it to sound good. (That makes him sound shallow, and he wasn't, he just wasn't going to settle for anything "weird"). Let's begin with the firstborn, shall we? (I'll elaborate only on the name we used, not the name we discarded because we didn't know she was a girl).

We actually had begun with the middle name Christine (using something from Mommy for a girl). But, when Steve's grandma, Harriet Elaine, was diagnosed with a cancer that would likely be fatal (putting her estimated time on Earth too short to meet her first great grandchild), we wanted to use her name. She always went by Elaine, even though her first name was Harriet. SO, we decided that our baby girl would carry Great Grandma Van Dyk's name, Elaine. I was doubly pleased because Elaine meant "light." What baby girl would be a "light" to her parents, and hopefully, a "light" to this dark work.

We then set about choosing a first name ...  I liked derivatives of Katie because Katie meant "pure." Also some thing we pray daily for in our little daughter. When we knew "light" would be the middle meaning, the two combined was set in stone, our baby would be "Pure light." HOWEVER, I had a co-worker who had used Katelyn, and another colleague who had a Katherine, so I took a few liberties and jumped to Kaylee. Kaylee was in the top 20 names and I knew quite a few little Kaylee's in my classes. BUT then I remembered my first "babysitting" charge. I think today you'd call me a "Mother's helper." Her parents named her Kaleigh Rose. I spent many days playing with her, and believe my desire to be a mother was fostered by those experiences. So, KaYleigh, it became. And that, dear blogger friends, is how we came up with Kayleigh Elaine. I think she looks like a "pure light," don't you?

AHHH now, the little man ... Benjamin Steven was much more difficult to determine. We, again, started with the middle name (what we are committed to making the "family name"). We knew we wanted something from Daddy's name ... either William or Steven. William is quite prevalent in Steve's family, and it's pretty common in my family as well. It was that ambiguity that kept us from using it ... too many people, not just one person to honor. So, we used Steven, for his Daddy, who, I personally believe, is an excellent model for our son.

After THAT we needed a first name that fit. We wanted something "classic" for a boy (no funny spellings, or gender neutral names). I also was pretty interested in having something Biblical. We went through our Bibles looking at all of the historical origins for Bible names ... And then we remembered Jacob. Jacob had 12 sons to pick from but his favorite two: Joseph and Benjamin, came from his favorite wife, Rachel. Joseph was the oldest and Benjamin the younger. After Joseph was "killed," Jacob treasured his younger son, Benjamin. ** Insert a little backstory: Steve's extended family has only 2 male grandchildren out of 12, so he was pretty certain we'd end up with a house full of girls. However, he asked me, when we were dating if I'd commit to giving him two sons ... he needed two boys to help carry on his family name (he's the last male Van Dyk!!!). I agreed and this little boy was quite a TREASURE to his Daddy. Therefore, this boy is this family's treasured son (long awaited...) So, Benjamin it was ... (To top it off, I had lots of Ben's in my life and all of them were wonderful people).

Benjamin Steven ... Daddy's treasure? I think so.

So, these stories make me curious about other readers ... If you feel like it, comment on my blog with the story of YOU or YOUR children came into their names.