March 6, 2012

What's in a name?

I may or may not have started a list of baby names years ago. I may or may not have worried that my hand-written list could someday get lost. So I may or may not have subsequently created a color-coded Excel spreadsheet on an otherwise slow day...


Funny thing is, Bryson was not even on my list. Until the the summer of 2010. We were on Maui, island-hopping with my parents, eating at a lovely oceanfront establishment called Beach Bums Bar & Grill, overlooking Ma'alaea Bay. Just for fun, we were talking about ideas for our Brownies' names. (If you haven't caught on by now, "Brownie" is the nickname I gave our yet-to-be-born children years ago.) I don't even remember what names I was throwing out there for boys, but I was quite surprised when Jeremy came out of left field with the name Bryson. I'd never met a Bryson. Never even heard the name Bryson! Interesting, I thought. And so not happening. It's not that I didn't like it, but for some reason it reminded me of names like Bentley, which reminded me of the show Teen Moms (one of the few reality shows I actually refuse to watch). Regardless, I just didn't feel like it would suit my hypothetical little man.

Back to Beach Bums. The only thing we could agree on (besides the last name, of course), was the middle name for a boy. I've always known Dean would be part of a boy's name for us. It's Jeremy's middle name (because it's his dad's middle name), and I just love it. I've always loved it. It sounds strong and handsome to me. I would've been happy with Dean as the first name, but Jeremy wasn't into that. No biggie.

Flash forward to the day we found out I was pregnant. The first name that came to me was Noah. I only knew one Noah growing up in school, I loved that he'd have my initials (I know...), and I loved Noah's symbolic connections to boats (you know...the ARK...), and rainbows. [See Genesis 9:12-13 if you're not sure what I'm talking about. And rest assured I will dedicate an entire post to rainbows one day!]

Jeremy and I didn't talk much about names for the first few months, mostly because every time I showed him THE list and ask which ones he liked, he'd say "none". The only boy name he liked was Bryson, and that was it. I wanted Noah, he wanted Bryson. Not. getting. anywhere.

The game changed when we found out that he was a he. Once we knew we had a baby boy in there, the pressure was on. I mean, I guess we could have waited until he was born, then picked a name that "suited" him, but let's be honest. We're not that patient, and personalized baby stuff is cute. So the standoff continued.

We know the ending here, so I'll cut to the chase. There are three main reasons why we named our precious little man what we did.

1. Noah B. While I didn't want a completely original name like Chimpanzee (no idea why that's the first word that came to my head just now...), I also didn't want a top 10, or even top 100, name. With our last name being the fifth most common in the country, I wasn't about to pick a first name that would be the same. I didn't want my baby to be the 2011 equivalent of David Smith. (No offense to you David Smiths out there.) I didn't want him to always have to list his full name because there were twelve other kids in his class with the same name. Once I started researching, I found that Noah, the name I thought was sooo unique, has been in the top ten boy names for a decade! Clearly I've been out of the loop.  Once I took it to the streets/social media sites, I saw that there were definitely plenty of Noah Browns on Facebook, LinkedIn, and everywhere else. Brysons were few and far between. Noah - 0, Bryson - 1.

2. I couldn't name the worm. When we went to Texas in June 2011, my sisters-in-law and I decided to go to a paint-your-own-pottery place and make my father-in-law a plate from his three grandbabies for his birthday. He likes to fish, so it would say "Paw Paw's Lil' Fishin' Buddies" and have two fish (the girls' footprints) and a worm on a hook (my pinky fingerprint, representing my little one). When it came time to name the worm, I panicked. I couldn't commit to Noah, and so I had the girl write "Baby Boy." The seed of doubt kept growing from there.

3. Jeremy. One day in July, Jeremy said that since we were using his middle name for the baby's name, I could pick the first name. We both knew the only name I wanted was Noah, and there I was, with the perfect opportunity to finalize it! I couldn't. That was a big sign. Sometime in the following days, I was texting my family from the projection room at work (yes, I was supposed to be up there), and I just decided. I knew that  I didn't "pull the trigger" on Noah because I really knew that Jeremy's (and my) son was Bryson. It just felt right. It felt more natural when I imagined Jeremy calling him by name, and I liked how it sounded with Dean.

Here's what I know, based upon some basic internet research:

Bryson literally means "son of Brice," and Brice/Bryce either means "freckled" or comes from "bri" or "brigh", meaning force, valor, or strength.

Dean originally described one living near a valley, or the presiding official of a church, university, or group.

Here's what I know, based upon the past four months of my life:

Our Bryson Dean is a precious, sweet, funny, inquisitive, thoughtful little boy. I'm willing to bet that he will be strong like his parents one day, and if he is lucky enough to collect some freckles along the way, more power to him.

P.S. If all this talk about names has you wondering, you have GOT to click here. You can find out how popular a given name is/was at a certain time, what it means, and if you're in the market for a baby name, you can put in certain parameters of what you're looking for and it will give you suggestions! 

Get busy. Bonus points for color-coded Excel sheets :)

P.P.S.  This post is not related to my business, which is about helping bright entrepreneurs attract their dream clients, one brilliant message at a time. HOWEV - if you like my writing and want help with your own, sign up for free tips at!
photo credit: Randy Son Of Robert via photopin cc


  1. Naming your kids is hard, its a lot of pressure! Duncan came up with Reese and I'm pretty sure we just both liked Ella. I love "Brownie's" name, yall did good ;).

    1. Thanks, Chels! Y'all did too. Perfectly suited to your cuties!