This blog post is part of a series that I began for telling our story. You can read the first post here.

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I can’t tell you how many names we discussed before ultimately naming our daughter Samantha. We didn’t even settle on her name until the day she was born. I’ve forgotten most of them. I know Courtney was in the mix, but I kept thinking of the Kardashians. Charlotte and Natalie were ones I liked, but we had members at our church at the time with those names and didn’t want to give the impression she was their namesake. I know there were so many other names, too…

Some of the nurses got in on the discussion, mostly sharing stories about the most bizarre first names given to babies born at that hospital. I wish I had written them down! I have no memory of any strange names, just the knowledge that it made me laugh during a time when I felt so lousy.

We also had a couple of long-time running jokes. One was the idea of naming our daughter Riley Fuzzle. This was because of an exit we saw frequently for a road with this name in Houston. It was an ongoing gag in our family. Some of you may remember that Samantha was affectionately known as Baby Thumper before she was born. My sister had had the tradition of giving a cartoon name to each of her children while pregnant, and our nieces helped us come up with it. It made things easier than just calling her “the baby.”

The last one was a name suggested by one of our nieces, in all sincerity. She said we should name our daughter Rainbow Sparkles. Such a lovely name, don’t you think? Makes me think of My Little Pony. Or perhaps a stripper. Not that I’ve known any, but it seems like that kind of name.

No, when we settled on the name Samantha, it was mostly because of the American Girls doll I had from my childhood. Back when the company only had dolls that aligned with specific storybooks and historical periods, my sister and I had each gotten one. Hers was Kirsten, even though we all thought Molly looked just like her. Mine was Samantha, who looked a lot like me. We knew from the sonograms that our daughter looked like me (it’s amazing how clear they are now). And when she was born, her face confirmed that she had carried the strong genetics that formed the faces of the women in our family. I look like my mom, who looks like her mom, who…

Samantha became the obvious choice to me, and Travis agreed. We started calling her Sammy right away. And just a couple of days after she was born, I found myself thinking about how her name is tied to Samuel, the long-desired son of Hannah in the Old Testament…

Next post coming Monday.