Mike and I each wrote about our baby name struggles this time around. Picking a name became so stressful that we actually had to agree to stop talking about it for a while. I think letting it sit was the best thing we did, because when we finally came back to the name conversation right before the baby was born, we finally found the perfect moniker for our little guy.

The one thing that we’d always known was that one of the baby’s names was going to start with J, in honor of Jackie. I spoke with Jackie’s mom about it, and she and Jackie’s dad gave us their blessing. We threw around a lot of J names, but the one we used the most was James. We both really liked it, but had only considered it as a middle name until one of us said, “Why aren’t we putting this in the running as a first name?”

After putting James on our first name list, we started thinking about middle names. We wanted a name that not only flowed well with James, but also had meaning. I started going through my list of baby names (you know, the one I’d organized alphabetically and also by meaning) and my eyes were immediately drawn to Asher. Asher means happy or blessed. I thought that would be perfect, because when I think about Maddie and Jackie I think about their smiling, happy eyes, and how lucky we were to have them in our lives. When I presented it to Mike, he agreed.

For me, once we put James and Asher together, I finally had that moment I’d been waiting for – the YES! THIS IS IT! moment. But Mike wanted to roll it around a little more in his head. And, we had one other problem…Annabel had already named the baby. One day she just walked up to me and said, “Mama, my brother’s name is Joey Jacob.” We still have no idea where she came up with it, but for the months leading up to James’ birth if anyone asked her what the baby’s name was, she’d say Joey Jacob. She was totally attached to it. So finally I said to Mike, “We have to officially decide on the baby’s name so we can break it to Annabel.”

We sat down with Annabel and said “Annie, we’re thinking of naming your brother James Asher. Do you like that name, or do you still have your heart set on Joey Jacob?” She was quiet for a moment and then said, “No, I love James. James Asher! He’s my brother and my best friend and the best baby in all the world!” She left Joey Jacob in the dust.

So even though I thought I wanted a unique, three-syllable, easily shortened name, my heart latched onto a one-syllable name that we have yet to drop in favor of a nickname (except for Annie occasionally calling him “Jamesie.”) I love it, and it suits him so very well. I hope he grows up to love his name as much as I do.

James and the Monster