Now Junior's Junior's kid, you know they call him the Deuce
And his grandma, she drinks vodka in her orange juice...*
This is a post about how the Deuce got her name (which she shares with her Grams, my mom, who may or may not drink vodka in her orange juice, depending on the day).**
A long while back, I wrote a post about Eliza's name and how it was my very favorite name, and how much it broke my heart to give that name to a little girl who wouldn't live to use it. I'm picky about names, and I wasn't sure I'd ever find another girl name I liked so much.
I was pretty much convinced that the Deuce was a boy, and David and I have been solid on our boy name since before we had Eliza, so I didn't spend too much time on girl names. I knew that if we had a girl, I wanted to name her something that sounded like it fit with Eliza. That meant it couldn't be too trendy--it had to be nineteenth-century-heroine appropriate. I wanted it to have some kind of personal significance to David and me or to our families, since Eliza was a family name on my mom's side and her middle name, Taylor, is my last name. I didn't just want to pick something at random unless we were both madly in love with it.
There are a lot of girl names we discussed that I really loved... Hadley, Clara, Gemma, Genevieve, Vivian, ... I like all those names. A lot. (Maybe I need to have five more little girls? Yeah... with five big fat epidurals.) And we considered using Taylor for a middle name again. I like the idea of my girls sharing my last name for their middle name.
But in the end, we kept coming back to Caroline Audrey. Both are family names, David and I liked them equally, and I liked the way Caroline sounds with Eliza and with our potential-future-boy-name.
Caroline is my mom's name, and she was named Caroline after her great-grandma Carrie.
(Our Caroline will NOT be called Carrie, as that happens to be the name of David's ex-girlfriend, whom I'm sure is a nice enough girl, but seriously, not exactly what I'm looking for in my daughter's namesake).
I liked that Caroline is a family name, I like that it's old-fashioned but not heavy-old-fashioned like my other great-grandmas' names (Maude, Gertrude, and Bertha). It's a nineteenth-century-heroine kind of name, the kind that seemed to cool to me when I was little (and evidently still does). Although I have grown to like my name, I always wanted a long name like Isabella or Katerina or Cassandra. Or Caroline. In second grade, I once wrote the name Caroline at the top of my worksheet as a sort of experiment but then I forgot to erase it and my teacher was like, "Brooke, why did you write Caroline at the top of this paper?" and I was totally embarrassed and had no idea how to explain to her my longing for a multi-syllabic "fancy" name. So I just shrugged and said "I don't know" and I'm sure my teacher thought I was a total weirdo or possibly had multiple personalities.
One of my favorite children's books belonged to my mom when she was little. We still have it, although the cover and binding are loose, and it's called Caroline and Her Friends. It's about a girl named Caroline who has all kinds of animal friends and they go on awesome international adventures. And they also go camping. I loved reading about Caroline and her friends, and I loved how her name looked spelled out in flowers on the front cover. (This book is currently out of print in English, which is a tragedy. It is available in French, though.).
|image from here|
I can also remember what it sounds like to hear my Grandma (my mom's mom) say the name Caroline, and for some reason that makes me really happy. She passed away when I was in college, but I am quite sure she would have approved of both my daughters' names.
David was a little worried that having two Carolines in the family would be confusing. As far as I'm concerned, my mom's name is actually "Mom," so I don't find it confusing at all. I suggested that he and Caroline can both just start calling my mom "Grams," so no confusion there! Also I've been reading lots of historical fiction and biographies about royalty and everybody names their first daughter after themselves and keeps reusing and recycling family names (which is why everyone in history is named Mary or Elizabeth. Yes EVERYONE.). So, I dunno. Didn't seem like a problem to me. As for anyone else, I figured that context would make it pretty easy to figure out whom we're talking about (although my dad likes to pretend this isn't true, so when it comes up in conversation that Caroline just pooped her pants, he asks which one).
We talked about maybe calling her Callie or Caddie (can I get a Caddie Woodlawn shout-out here, Amelia?) but so far we just like Caroline. Sometimes I call her Caro although my mom says "That's not a name!" (Seriously--you name one kid after your mom and suddenly she thinks she gets to have an opinion about everything...). Mr. Bingley calls his sister Caroline "Caro" in Pride and Prejudice and if Jane Austen says it's a nickname, then it IS a nickname. I rest my case. So anyway, for now she's Caroline. We'll see if a nickname develops at some point and sticks around.
Also, can I just say that someone else named their rainbow baby Caroline? And, frankly, if it's good enough for Jackie Kennedy, it's good enough for me.
Anyway, on to her middle name. As I mentioned, we considered the name Taylor, but since that would mean her first and middle name actually would be my mom's first and last name, it seemed a little weird.
Audrey is another name I've always liked (and the association with Audrey Hepburn doesn't hurt, especially since Audrey Hepburn played Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady!).
But Audrey is also the name of David's great-grandma--his grandpa Gene's mom. She died when Gene was a little boy and one of the amazing things about David's grandpa Gene is how he grew up to be such a great father and grandfather when he did not have much of a family life at all after the death of his mother. If we'd had a boy, we would have named him after Grandpa Gene, so we wanted to find a way to do that with our little girl as well. And David preferred Audrey over Eugenia for a middle name, so that's what we went with.
So there you have it. The name story of Caroline Audrey Duckworth.
|Grams/Caroline and mini-Caroline|
* Those are lyrics from "White Trash Story" by the Casey Donahew Band. The song makes me laugh and David and I sang it to the Deuce while I was pregnant.
** I have actually never known my mother to drink vodka in her orange juice. But that does not necessarily mean that it's never happened!