How Lydia became Lydia (and not Clara)

Earlier, I posted about baby names, and I gave you the chance to make predictions. Then we went and did this really unfair thing: at the very last minute, we changed our minds. Until the night before she was born (we’re talking mere hours before I went into labor), our baby was to be either Thomas or Clara, but at a suggestion from my dad we changed our minds, sort of, and Lydia was the result.

It happened like this: some time around December, after a few months spent thumbing through baby name books and obsessively checking all the top-100 lists available online, we settled on Clara, simple and sweet, and Thomas – classic but, you know, nice – and then let the subject rest for five months. Periodically, we revisited the names and decided that we still liked them. We were satisfied. The middle names changed several times and by the birth, we still hadn’t settled on a boy’s name but Louise had emerged from somewhere (it was always on the tip of my tongue, it seemed) and cozied up with Clara.

So, Clara Louise.

But then my dad called a few nights before Lydia was born and announced that he had a name for us. “Fire away,” I said, maybe rolling my eyes just a little because most of the names people had offered throughout the pregnancy had been worthy of eye-rolling. However, my dad came out with Lydia and reminded me that she was the “purveyor of purple” in the Bible.

I did not roll my eyes – Lydia was a nice name. When we got off the phone, I looked her up in Acts 16 and read the story of her conversion and thought that, Goodness, I like those verses. The way that God opened Lydia’s heart, the way she “prevailed upon” Paul and Silas to stay with her – it’s a good passage. And the name is pretty. And, hey, I like purple.

Two nights later, while we were visiting with my dad and step-mom, he brought it up again and, again, I thought about it. On the way home that night, I asked Mitch, “What about Lydia?”

By the time we reached home, we’d agreed to consider Lydia as a possibility, just in case the baby was a girl and just in case she wasn’t Clara. Lydia Louise was nice, we agreed.

The next morning I went into labor. That afternoon, our daughter was born. Mitch was the first to check her gender and the first to announce, from across the operating room, that she was a girl, to which I promptly asked, “Is she Lydia or Clara?”

“I don’t know!” He cried. So the name tag on her bassinet stayed blank until [insert blurry increment of time here] later, when both she and Mitch arrived in the recovery room and the nurse gave our nameless little girl to me to hold. I studied her face; Mitch studied her face. “Lydia,” I said. And it was so.

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4 thoughts on “How Lydia became Lydia (and not Clara)

  1. Cheri Mallahan

    what a great story! We didn’t name Aidan until after he was born too. We found out later that his name means “little fire” which is very fitting with the red hair. A lady at church told us,” God names our children. We only have to listen for it.”

    Reply
  2. Rebecca

    We nearly named The Baby Clara! She came early before we’d finished fighting and we had a brief hallway arguement about what her name was going to be, post-birth. Not Clara.
    I love, love the name Lydia.

    Reply
  3. Ann

    Hi Thea! My parents told me they ran into you downtown just a week or two before Lydia was due. How wonderful to stumble across your blog and see pictures of your beautiful baby girl! Congratulations to all three of you 🙂

    Excellent choice on both names by the way…Did you know that my sister is Emma Louise?

    Take care~

    Ann

    Reply

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