The Name Game

{This is a post about our babies. So yeah, you've been warned.}

* * *

Picking out a name for a baby is hard work.

Picking out two is even harder.

Tyler & I had decided long ago
that we wanted to use our grandmother's names,
Viola (mine) & Wallace (his)
for our children someday.

Having two little girls
seemed like the perfect occasion to do so.

We wanted both of their names
to have one family name
and one name we loved that made it up.

We also wanted to keep them secret until they were born.

We knew that they only way 
we could keep our mouths shut
was to not have names finalized
for as long as possible.

So, until then, we talked about them 
-and to them- 
as "Baby A" & "Baby B."

As we would lie in bed at night
with my gigantic belly pressed against his back,
Tyler would ask who it was who had the hiccups
(always Baby A)
and who was kicking him
(always Baby B).

But the day before I was admitted to the hospital,
we decided it was officially time to decide on names.

They were perfect... 
and they sounded so sweet together.

I won't go into the details here
of the delivery or the following 48 hours,
but when we weren't sure 
if Baby B was going to make it-
we didn't know what to do.

The hospital kept nudging us for names
and we were in so much shock
{and I was recovering from near-death},
it got shoved to the bottom of our priorities.

We could only hope for the two of us to recover.

The night that Baby B died,
we had to officially name her
for the purpose of the NICU filing paperwork.

And while we had other plans
for a "real" name,
it suddenly felt wrong to change that
to something we'd never known her as.

She was our Baby B...
that's all we ever knew her as
and that's how we wanted to remember her.

So that's what we named her... officially.
It's what's written on her birth (and death) certificate(s).

{I want to puke typing that sentence.}

Once we decided on that,
 we were left with the original two names
and only one baby to give them to.

 We decided to combine the two names into one
and let Viola carry on both of her grandmother's names
and a part of her sister. 

We are using the British pronunciation of  the name, Viola
-like "violin," but with an "uh" at the end instead-
as it's said in my favorite of Shakespeare's works, Twelfth Night.

{Who, ironically, is separated from her twin by a tragic accident.}

So, there you have it.

 Both girls ended up with names

that we hadn't planned on.

Their names aren't cute twin names that go well together.

Viola doesn't get to go through life

with an "&" attaching her to her sister.

...And sometimes those truths feel like a kick in the gut.

But in the midst of a situation that is miles away from perfect,
I'm thankful for this little bundle of cuteness
that carries on the names of her great-gandmothers...
and the tiny life of her sister.

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy


  1. Viola Wallace is absolutely perfect. xx

  2. what beautiful meaning behind her name!

  3. I love that through it all your sweet Viola gets to carry on both of her grandmother's names as well as the memory of her sister. That is so precious and I think a great way to remember Baby B too. I teared up reading your post today Lauren. Sending you a telepathic hug.

    Also I love that photo of Viola. The flower and the sheep rug...perfect as she is too.

    Bonnie Rose | A Compass Rose

  4. i think it is absolutely perfect. Beautiful, special. She'll be honored when she's old enough to understand where her name came from.

  5. I love her name. It is perfect, and beautiful. Like her. I know she will wear it proudly through her life. love you.

  6. It's a beautiful name, and a great way to home two women y'all love and her sister.

  7. It is so hard for me to read through a whole post about your babies without my heart breaking for you two. You are so incredibly strong and courageous and an amazing woman. I can't think of more perfect names for your girls.

  8. lauren. this post. oh my gosh. i have thought a lot about you since the birth and wondered how it's all going. who can really know how they'd handle such a thing? you seem to be doing it with such grace and allowance. letting yourself feel it. i can only imagine that is a good thing, a tribute to your baby b.

  9. I'm so sorry that this has happened to you. Heartbreaking and beautifully written post.

  10. Beautiful name & baby girl! thinking of you during this time of healing.

  11. Oh I wish I could give you a hug through the computer screen. This is a beautiful post and I absolutely love the name Viola Wallace.

  12. I love Viola's name and I love all that it signifies. Thank you for sharing the story behind it all.

  13. So sweet. Thank you for sharing such a personal thing with us readers.

  14. i can't begin to tell you how wonderful this post is. we, as your readers, are so lucky you are willing to share so much with us. keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers.

  15. I just love the name. What a gorgeous little baby.

  16. Chills ran down my spine as I read this. You are so strong. Your family is beautiful. And you serve as an inspiration to so many people out there. xoxo.

  17. Absolutely beautiful. As always, thank you for sharing this with us. It feels like a gift. Thinking of you guys.

  18. I love the story behind her name - like someone commented before me, the connection to both her grandmothers and to her sister is beautiful. I hope when she grows old enough to understand it that she can appreciate all the meaning her name holds.

  19. Lovely - and perfect that she is able to always honor her sister.

  20. Such a beautiful post and an beautiful name. Lots of love

  21. You are SO strong. Even though I'm almost positive you don't feel like it every day. This is such a beautiful post, and a beautiful name. I have always had a thing for names like Wallace, that sound like last names also :) So glad that you chose to do what "felt" right at the end of the day. Viola is gorgeous.

  22. I must have read this seventeen times. You are so strong and so brave and what an amazing way for Viola to carry her sisters legacy with her forever.

  23. Such a sweet post and lovely little name. Thank you for your strength and honesty :)

  24. I just keep looking at her photo. What a beauty. Thank you for sharing a personal piece of the journey to naming them, Lauren!

  25. I can't imagine what those 48 hours must have been like for you and Tyler. I think her name is absolutely perfect and that you made a graceful decision in the most difficult of times.

  26. It is nice to start hearing small pieces of your story. I know it's not our business to know and it is all still such a fresh wound. We don't expect details, but I loved hearing a little piece of where their names came from etc. Lauren, I think you are so wonderful and normal with your emotions. I don't think any one here expects you to down play your emotions. You have experienced one of lives greatest joys and tragedies all at once...and you are sleep deprived and learning to be a mommy. Gosh that is enough to make the happiest person in the world feel confused and not sure where to go from here. We still pray for you all daily. I believe that God can and will heal your families pain. Sending prayers up for you this morning...that today you will mostly find joy in just relishing in Viola and Tyler. One day at a time friend. One day at a time.

  27. That is such a touching story, and Viola Wallace is a beautiful name. Thank you for sharing this story, and I admire your strength!
    XO, Rachel
    <a href= "> With Love, Rachel </a>

  28. Thanks for sharing this with all of us, lots of us whom you don't even know personally. I know I speak for lots of us when we wonder what exactly happened.
    As you open up I see much more of the Woman who I have always thought you as anyway, sweet & courageous.

    Manda from Eat Cake

  29. This was a beautiful post, Lauren, and a beautiful story behind their names.

  30. No one should ever have to write that sentence and it pains me that you do. I love the meaning behind her name and I find it even more beautiful that part of it was of her sister, too.

    Oh, and the picture? Dying over those smooshed baby lips!!!

  31. It hurts my heart that you ever had to write that sentence! I love the way you are remembering your little one. Your sweet Viola can always have part of Baby B in her heart, too by sharing her name.

  32. I love that you named her Baby B. So sweet. Praying for you guys.

  33. i think viola's name is beautiful. and baby b is so fitting and seems right. i just wish you didn't have to write that sentence.

  34. Beautiful post - & Viola carries such a beautiful name. It must be comforting for her when she grows up to be able to carry that part of her sister with her always.

  35. Beautiful Baby with a Beautiful Name. Prayers for you all.

  36. I think your daughters name turned out perfect & what a sweet way to honor her sister. There's no doubt that she'll be so proud of her name when she's older!

  37. It's so amazing that you even have the guts to write your feelings down. I can't even imagine how hard it must be. Just know in addition to all of your family and friends you have a whole internet world that supports you, Viola and Tyler too!! xo

  38. Such a beautiful name with a wonderful meaning.

  39. You are just too brilliant for words. Viola is such a beautiful name- it's one of my favourites too- and there aren't really words for the story behind it and her sister's names. As always, so much love to you all. xx

  40. Viola Wallace is a beautiful name. I am again, so very sorry for your loss. I am sure that everyday continues to be difficult. Please be sure to understand that we are there for you.

    I was in Twelfth Night in high school. I was Maria, the maid/nurse. Not as fabulous as Viola, but I knew exactly what you meant from the pronounciation.

    Hugs and Love.

  41. I'm just going to keep saying it... I am SO proud of you, my friend. Your courage and positive outlook on life inspires me every DAY. Love you guys. -JMC

  42. Oh I cried reading this. So beautiful. What a good mother you are. Love and prayers to you.

  43. Viola will always remember her sister! This post was so incredibly powerful and I cannot even imagine how much it took to write this out. Thank you for your honesty, your love jumps off the page

  44. Wow. Absolutely beautiful. I am so sorry you had to type those words--but what a blessing to that sweet baby girl to carry both of those names. I appreciate so much your honesty and your transparency. Prayers for you sweet lady. :)

  45. This is so, so beautiful. Just like Viola Wallace. I love the stories behind names. My own name is made up in a similar way: Lauren is my own, the Jean & Allece are my grandmothers' middle names. I love carrying their legacies with me, the same way I imagine your beautiful Viola will (funny, that's how I had been pronouncing her name this whole time in my head).

    I am so grateful for your story, your restored health, your sweet family and your incredible faith and perseverance. You are amazing, Lauren.

  46. What beautiful meaning behind her name -- she'll cherish it forever. & that last line gave me chills.

  47. Viola's name is beautiful. When I read Baby B's name, I immediately thought of Baby Bea. When I looked up what Bea means, this is what I found--blessed; voyager through life; traveler; pilgrim; bringer of joy. I have known several women who have lost children shortly after birth. One of my friends carried her daughter for months, knowing that Maggie (the name they gave her) would die within weeks of her birth. You chose B's name wisely. She will travel with you, alongside you, for the rest of your life. And in her own special way, she will bring you joy because she will remind you that to be alive is to love and show compassion. My prayer for your family is that you will continue to grieve and come to a new place of contentment and joy.

  48. I love that you officially named her Baby B, as I'm sure she heard your refer to her as that when you were carrying her. Your post brought tears to my eyes, you're keeping her memory alive in a beautiful way.

  49. Viola is beautiful. She's already carried those names so much joy to us via IG, here and elsewhere in the world. A true treasure.

    Also, not sure if you've watched or read Harry Potter, but it reminds me of when Hermione tells Ron, "it's levi-OH-suh, NOT leviooosaahh." Casting spells and baby names have so much in common.... (single girl, signed off).

  50. Holding back tears at my computer. Love to you three!

  51. Lovely post. You are a lovely person it seems. Lucky baby.

  52. Viola Wallace Knight sounds like an old Hollywood movie star name. She's obviously got a big life ahead of her - she's living for two now. So you just know it will be full of twice as much joy.

  53. Beautiful name for a beautiful girl. And what a lovely tribute to her sister, forever Baby B.

  54. This post brought tears to my eyes as I'm sure it did you while writing it. It's a beautiful and gorgeous and meaningful name perfect for your perfect little girl. Thank you so much for sharing.

  55. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. My great aunt's name is Viola. Perfect combination of names. Your little bundle is pure perfection.

  56. Both names are so sweet. I love that Viola gets to carry her sister's name with her; I'm sure she'll treasure that! Praying for you as you both mourn and rejoice over your precious babies.


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  58. Viola is so lucky to have parents as lovely as you both. Loved this post and it is so fitting that Viola also takes her sisters name as a tribute. Beautiful. Hope you are all doing well lovely girl!


  59. I think your decision for your daughters' names was a beautiful and meaningful one. I think Viola will cherish the bit of her sister she carries with her, even as she makes both names her own and grows into an amazing young lady who makes her parents proud.

  60. I wanted to comment the other day, but my words were not cooperating with my thoughts, so I am back today.

    But this is so lovely. I have a fascination with names and from where inspiration strikes as well as how a name affects identity. You've given Viola a lot to live up to, but also an incredible foundation of love and honor from which to build. The story of her name not only being both great-grandmothers' but also her sister's is quite lovely. There's no other word for it.
    And for legally naming Baby B, "Baby B"? Perfect. It's what she's called in your hearts, and the way you two will always refer to her- so her name should absolutely connect with all of that love and cherish...ness. (Yeah, I went off the dictionary-beaten path for that one.)

  61. Inspired by your optimism and sweet personality. :) Viola Wallace couldn't be more perfect. Praying for you three. (And still vicariously living through your travels... even the ones in London!)

  62. it hurts my heart every time i remember that you only have one baby instead of two. i love that you gave viola both names. what a great way for her to remember her sister.

  63. What a beautiful name and lovely that she can have a rememberance of her sister as part of her own name.

  64. Lauren. Beautiful. On so many levels. thank you for sharing :) prayers for you Tyler and baby V.

  65. Lauren,
    I think it makes complete sense and I love that Viola will always be connected to our twin in such a special way.

    Hugs, thoughts and prayers to you, Tyler and VW!!

  66. thank you for telling your story. what strikes me most is how you managed to take such a horribly gut-renching situation and turn it into something beautiful. a legacy. i love how Viola will always carry a piece of her sister with her. and with the names you chose, you'll always be reminded of precious Baby B.

  67. My goodness, what a beautiful post for such a beautiful baby. Heart wrenching for sure to read about your Baby B, but the love you have for her radiates through every word spoken about her! We have a 6 week old baby with a scary delivery- I can only imagine yours. I'm fascinated by your blog- love it.

  68. What a sweet post, Lauren. Thanks for sharing your life and your heart. Baby Viola is a bundle of cuteness and will carry those names with such grace!


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