What's in a name?

By Published On: October 21st, 2011

Written by: Tracy October 20 2011 Apparently—a lot. When you […]

Written by: Tracy

Apparently—a lot. When you are little, it’s easy to dream up names that you will one day bestow upon your offspring.

My favorite name for a girl when I was in high school was, dare I say this … Kiwi (oh yes, as in the green, sweet yet tangy, Kiwifruit). I was sure it was perfect and that any kid would love such a fun name. Thank goodness I moved on from the fruit option early in my adulthood before I had the opportunity to scar a child for life.

But as easy as it seems to name your future child when you’re young, everything comes to a screeching halt when you actually have to give a “real” person a name that they will carry with them through life. It’s a huge decision and not one that I wanted to take lightly.

To explain to you how we arrived at the name we have chosen, I must take you back a few years—12 years actually. I met my husband when I was 14. We were high school sweethearts and met at a skating rink in the middle of our two towns. I was instantly smitten by his blue eyes and sweet personality. Looking back, I really don’t think I had time to comprehend what hit me. It was like bam and I was in love. Our weekend dates turned into summers spent learning and growing and becoming best friends. After high school, we ended up going to college together where we fell into what I would call “grown-up” love and from then on, there wasn’t even a doubt about spending the rest of our lives together. He’s the other half of my brain, heart and soul. I ask myself everyday how I got so lucky. I am so thankful for his friendship, love and support.

Somewhere during all of those years falling in love, we settled on a boy name—in the same house where we recently felt our tiny guy kick for the first time. (Foreshadowing? Maybe so.) It was a name we had picked when we were only 16 or 17. So, when we learned we were pregnant, my husband immediately recalled our boy name and was absolutely positive it was the right fit (he was also positive there was a boy in my belly)—I wasn’t quite as sure.

I, the less practical and more emotional one in the family, was just not content that it was still the correct name for our babe so many years later. As in most of the decisions I make in life, I was waiting on a feeling.

As it got closer to my 20-week ultrasound, my girl name started to feel wrong and our boy name just a little more right. I guess I just knew there was a tiny dude in there—one that was deserving of a good, sturdy name.

So as we got down to the wire of finding out what this baby was, I was able to put the pieces together.

I checked off the naming criteria important to us:

Family name, check. (We love the history behind names and wanted to be able to tell our little fella a story from where his name came.)

A name that works throughout all of life, check. (My best friend helped with this one. She said, “make sure to have a name that you can carry as a child, a teenager and an adult.”)

A name that didn’t particularly irk me after I said it 115 times a day, check.

One that would not easily be made fun of by his peer group, check. (Though there are references to the name, we are hopeful they won’t come about until later in life.)

A name that was unique in its own right, check. (Fingers crossed that there won’t be 100 boys with his name in his graduating class.)

One that felt completely right for both of us, check.

So after making sure his moniker fit all the criteria, we were ready to make a definite decision. I was sure it felt right.

Braxton Chance Brown

He will be named after my husband’s great grandfather, Brack Herndon, of whom my husband is also named. We wanted to keep the unique quality with a little variation for my sanity’s sake (My dad and brother are both named Stephen, which led to a lot of confusion with phone calls at my house.) It was the perfect choice. It represented the history of our family and the history of our own love. We want Braxton to feel connected to his roots but able to have enough freedom to explore his own identity. We both feel confident in our choice for him, and after all, isn’t that the best we can do as parents?

Lots of love,

Tracy (and Braxton!)