We’ve been lucky enough to share some wonderful blogs from celebrity mom/cool baby namer Natalie Hanson, focusing on her and husband Taylor‘s choices of the names Viggo and Wilhelmina. And now we’re delighted to report that our Hansonconnection expands with the addition of Natalie‘s sister-in-law Kate, wife of Zac, explaining here what’s behind their latest choice .
My love of all things names goes back to childhood, and I think it stems from experimenting with my own name, Kathryn. Starting in second grade I moved from Katy to Kathryn, ending up as Kate by high school. A big thank you to my parents for letting me meander so freely through all the variations. I really appreciated having a name I could play with, and I started paying attention to what the perfect name can offer a person. I remember combing through the racks at our local bookstore as a young girl, finally coming away so pleased with Baby Names for the 90s! It’s a book I still pull out from time to time. Since those days, I have named four babies of my own, and my sister-in-law, Natalie, and I still spend many a tea time/car line chat sharing our most recent name discoveries and inspirations.
What I didn’t think about as I was doodling my future children’s names during my college classes, is that I’d end up marrying a spouse with quite the opinion on all things, including the names of those children. So it’s a good thing I love what my husband, Zac, brings to the table as a songwriter and true creative. It’s a great balance to my more historical, practical approach. When I want to name our children using every maiden name I can scour from the family tree, he brings me back to the more poetic side of naming.
So what is a moniker-loving mama to do when, after years of name immersion, she has to make it official? Obviously, give the baby three names! With our firstborn, John Ira Shepherd, we stumbled into the three-naming game and kept the tradition going with the babies that have followed. It was special to add some extra meaning into the name, and the additional syllables make it feel like writing poetry, which has been a fun collaboration.
When we found out we were expecting our fourth child, she had already been Lucille for years. This has always been Zac’s favorite name, and aside from the Hanson history in the fan favorite song, “Lucy,” it ticks a lot of good boxes for me. Does my grandmother have friends with this name? Check. Can we find it on our family tree? Check. Does it work well from babyhood through old age? Check.
We also really liked the way the long u sound paired so well with her big sister, Junia, without rhyming or being too match-y. I know Zac was thrilled when I woke him from a deep slumber in the hospital after Lucille was born to tell him that my Wikipedia search revealed she shared a birthday with none other than Lucille Ball! So she is Lucille, and she wears it like a prim little lady with some spunk should!
Now what to pair with Lucille to really make it her own? As Orthodox Christians, we always include the name of a saint, which the baby will be given in baptism. The Orthodox saints calendar has quickly become one of my favorite places to unearth beautiful, inspired gems that span the globe. As someone who leans towards a more Americana sound, the calendar has really broadened my appreciation for the Greek, Russian, and African names that our more current variations stem from. And I’ve loved hearing some of these names in action throughout the halls of our church… Genevieve,Magdalene, Cassiane, Ephraim… so fresh sounding.
We decided to go straight to the top of the spiritual mountain with this baby girl, and use Mary. Aside from the saintly connotation, it opened up the option of the double name. In my native Alabama, you pop a Mary on the front of that name, and you can’t go wrong. She can brunch, barbecue, and beach with the best of them! Saintly, southern, music to my ears. And it didn’t hurt to have the more modern reference in mind of the sophisticated yet spicy Lady Mary from DowntonAbbey.
After months of convincing my husband that my Southern mama card would be taken away if I didn’t bestow my maiden name of Tucker somewhere in this baby’s name, I had a change of heart. As I was reading through the many inspiring messages from my mother-in-law, Diana, encouraging me on the upcoming birth of her thirteenth grandchild, I had a deep desire to give her a namesake. Diana means divine, and is also the name of the Roman goddess of the hunt. Women would go to her with help in fertility and childbirth. Such a beautiful meaning and so perfect for my mother-in-law, a lover of all things babies and birth! I wanted to pay homage to her and the admirable matriarch she is for our family. I also loved the way the -ana sound at the end rounded out the sharper sounds in Mary Lucille. It softened it up in the most perfect way.
So there she is… Mary Lucille Diana, with her little poem of a name. And the nickname Lulu really has us all pretty googly-eyed. Now, if anyone out there could help me with their take on the best way to monogram for a triple-named babe, we’ll be all set!