My husband and I didn’t choose a name for our firstborn daughter until we had already given birth. Of course, we had some ideas—ridiculous, serious, and everything in between—during our pregnancy, but every name we thought might work didn’t feel quite right. We joked as newlyweds that we would give our children names that felt like a mixture of royal English heritage and new age modernism. Names like Henry Battleship and Anastasia Skyscraper. You get the picture. It was a hilarious game to pass time. However, when the reality that we were pregnant arrived and we started sharing names that we liked with each other, we agreed that we just wanted the name to be completely unique. This decision meant a long process (eight months to be exact!) of thinking, praying, and replying to every naturally curious person on the planet, “Nope. No name yet.”
The name had to be hers only. There wouldn’t be three of her in a classroom one day forcing teachers and friends to call her Emma G. to distinguish her from Emma L. and Emma S. We also wanted a name that wouldn’t remind us of someone or something we knew, which was particularly difficult. Victoria? No, that reminds me of her secret at the mall. Florence? No, that reminds me of the band “and the machine.” This name had to be one that really struck people with curiosity and made them wonder with delight. This would be a special name nobody forgot at camp and would look great in headlines for her worldwide feats of victorious joy.
Yet, at the same time, this name would have to be one that would feel great on our tongues as parents. We’d be calling our daughter this name for our entire lives. It needed to be a name that would fit like a glove for a cute, little toddler dressed in pink. For a girl playing outside with her neighborhood friends during the fleeting daylight of a summer’s day when she is called in for dinner. For a sassy teenager getting reprimanded for staying out past curfew. For a college graduate receiving her diploma with crowds cheering. For a strong, lovely wife and mother who spends her days creating delectable meals for her loved ones in her warm, welcoming home. And one day for an old, wrinkly grandmother with beloved grandkids that call her Nana.
The name would be feminine and point to beauty. It would call forth her identity every day of her life and instill hope in her heart and in the hearts of people.
On a sunny July day, our bundle of joy came one month earlier than her expected due date—surprise! My husband and I sat in our dark, quiet hospital room—finally emptied of family and congratulatory guests—the night our baby was born. We had our first still moment to look each other in the eyes after a two-day whirlwind of labor, delivery, and in-and-out nurses. We took a great big breath of happiness and exhaustion and prayed: “Lord, what is her name? Show us.” We spent the next hour brainstorming ideas, narrowing down our favorites, and landing on the name before drifting off to sleep. It was a hallelujah moment of relief and triumph. This was it! We did it! We found her name at long last. It settled on her little sleeping frame like it had always been hers. The name felt like home. It told the story of our love for her and the woman she will become. It was softly breathed into the atmosphere, written on her birth certificate, and declared to all who had been asking: Quill Reverie—our darling little girl who would be a writer of words and a dreamer of dreams.
Erin & JD Gravitt
The Gravitts are new parents and lovers of story that live nearby in Randleman, NC. JD is on Core Staff at A Place for the Heart and serves as filmmaker and web developer. JD loves inviting people into story through words, media and film and is looking forward to capturing many more family moments. Erin has served as the Client Services Director at Pregnancy Care Centers in Greensboro and Asheboro, NC as well as cultivating writing, photography, and art as a secret place with the Lord.