From the time I was 10 years old, I knew what I wanted to name my daughter. I was a huge fan of the American Girl Books and absolutely adored the character of Samantha Parkington. I dreamed of one day having a dark-haired little girl and getting to use my favorite name. After marrying Micah, we realized that one of his favorite girl nicknames was Sammy, so ours truly was a match made in heaven. Finally, our dream came true and Samantha Marlene Peter joined our family (only she was blonde like Kirsten, my other favorite AG character)
Unfortunately, while we had “Samantha” picked out for over a decade, we had no idea what name we wanted for a second little girl.
When it came time for the gender reveal ultrasound, we were happy either way, boy or girl. They announced that it was a girl (yay!) and then came the arduous task of going through baby name books and top 100 lists and listening to suggestions and recommendations for months on end. We finally settled upon Abigail. We both like the name and loved the nickname Abby. But you know how it is when you think of something unique and suddenly you hear about that thing everywhere? That’s how it was with the name Abigail. As soon as we decided on that name we heard it at every store, remembered every person we knew with that name, and I even photographed a brand-new baby girl named Abigail. So to the bottom of the list it went.
Then one day in my third trimester I was driving and chatting with my mom and we started talking about baby names. She started googling popular baby names from 1900, since both Micah and I prefer classic, somewhat traditional names. We went through the “A’s” (and yes, Abigail was on the list), and then through the “B’s”, and then through the “C’s”. Halfway through she said the name “Clara” and I said, “Oh, that’s pretty!… wait, wasn’t that Granny’s name?”
You see, my great-grandmother was Clara Louise Butts. But back in the early part of the 20th century, Clara was an old-fashioned name (after all, it’s what all the moms and aunties and grandmas from 1900 were named) and Louise was so much more modern in 1940. So, everyone called her Louise and it wasn’t until I was in my teens that I found out Granny’s full name and I had clearly forgotten that fact a decade later, until running across it in that list.
I liked Clara. I really liked Clara. It was short and cute and pretty. Very classic but with a modern ring to it. Clara was the name of a character from Adventures in Odyssey (one of my favorite episodes growing up) as well as the name of one of the companions on Doctor Who, which I knew would make Micah happy, since it was his favorite of the bunch.
The name was tucked away in my notebook and a few days later we were talking baby names after church and that name got mentioned out of the blue. Micah said he really like it and I said that I really liked it, too, and had thought of it a few days ago. “No, you didn’t,” he said disbelievingly. So I took that little notebook out of my purse and showed it to him. Our eyes met and right then and there we knew what he name would be.
Clara Jeanne Peter.
Clara for my great-grandmother and Jeanne, the name she would share with Micah’s mother and grandmother. Samantha Marlene is my namesake and we share middle names along with my mother and grandmother. And now Micah’s family legacy would be carried on, too.
Clara, Clare-bear, Clara Jeanne, CJ, Clary-beary… so many cute nicknames for the cutest baby around.
Update 2019- we’ve since added Clerber to the list of nicknames. It started as Clare-bear and then we just got lazy and now she’s Clerber. It makes us all giggle.
My baby girl. My Clara Jeanne.