Posted by: Ingrid | November 28, 2011

His Ineffable Name

Since we mostly managed to make it through my pregnancy with Jonathan without sharing his name, I thought I would share now about how it came about.  I figure if I get it down somewhere it won’t matter how many brain cells I lose while parenting as long as I have a written record that someone can access.  We originally were planning on not sharing Isaac’s name until after he arrived, but that was a quickly lost cause.  With Jonathan we had a little more luck, only slipping a bit towards the end because by then we were forgetting not to call him by name when we were in front of other people.

I really dislike naming children.  I don’t have a bank of names stored up from childhood (and if I did, I probably wouldn’t trust them to be any good).  As an aside, I do have a fondness for names like Aiden, Caedon, Brendon, Braedon (do you detect a theme here?) but husband does not share that some love.  Anyway, I just feel like there’s so much at stake when you’re giving someone a name.  Here’s this new little person who no one has ever met or laid eyes on and you’re just going to name him?  No thanks! Way too much pressure there. Thanks to T.S. Eliot’s poem that I memorized years and years ago I already have trouble naming cats.  (And now I will have “His ineffable effable/Effanineffable/Deep and inscrutable singular Name.” running through my head all afternoon…)

Anyway, as is typical for me, I refused to look at names until after the ultrasound.  No point in knocking myself out thinking of two names!  Several weeks after finding out that we were having another little boy I was at home during naptime and wondered about naming Baby #2 Jonathan Lawrence, after both of our dads (John and Larry, respectively).  I probably wouldn’t have thought any more about it, except for the fact that at bedtime Clint turned to me and asked if maybe I would consider Jonathan Lawrence as a name…

To have us both think of the same name on the same day seemed less than coincidental, and I was happy to take that as confirmation and Jonathan was named.  I really like the fact that the name means something to both sides of our family without it being the exact name of either of our dads (neither John Larry or Larry John made the list for us, oddly enough).  I feel like it gives Jonathan a tie to family while still allowing him to be his own person.

Jonathan means “God has given”, which we liked.  When we looked up the name Lawrence, we found that the name was used more frequently after Laurence, a deacon in Rome during the third century, supposedly was martyred when he was ordered to bring out the church’s treasures and he brought out the sick and poor of the city.  Throw in Brother Lawrence of Practicing the Presence fame and you’ve got some pretty amazing guys!

So there you have the how and why of Jonathan’s name and I can rest assured that if I forget it will be noted somewhere. 🙂



  1. we have a fun story behind most of our kids names too…I like that…I should write them down also, although I know I have told my grown children so hopefully they remember.

  2. What a lovely sentiment behind your son’s name. We named our daughter after grandmothers from both sides of the family. It makes her name feel extra special to us. And I agree, there is a lot of stress involved in picking a child’s name. I’m still glad we had a girl instead of a boy, only because we couldn’t settle on a boy’s name we truly loved. I was terrified of giving a boy a name that wasn’t good!

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