What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet. So Sam would, were he not Sam called, retain that dear perfection which he owes without that title...
And he is dearly perfect to us - but we chose Samuel Robert thoughtfully. Here's why:
Neither Dan or I are huge "pick a name because of it's Greek or Hebrew meaning" people. We're both of the mind to choose names we like. We're not necessarily committed to biblical names either because, as one of our friends often jokes, "I know too many Matthews, Marks, Lukes, and Johns in prison."
We wanted names that:
1. Were timeless. Not to offend anyone out there, but let's be real: there are names that when you hear them you think - 80's. Each decade has a handful of trendy names which are cute to be sure, but dated.
2. Worked at every age - and could be taken seriously. My mom was insistent that I be called "Kate" and not "Katie" when I was growing up. Katie is darling on little girls, and I know some beautiful, graceful Katies, but in the words of my mother, "You just can't imagine a president of the United States named Katie." This is why we call Madeline, "Madeline," and not Maddie (plus it's so dainty and feminine and timeless and French). I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
3. Of course we had to avoid unfortunate initials, nick names, etc. We really liked the name Jack, too - but Jack Samuel sounded too much like Jack Daniels. Yikes. And Samuel Jack?
There were other considerations, to be sure. But here's why we fell in love with Samuel Robert.
Samuel: As a general rule, I prefer full names to shortened ones: Michael instead of Mike, David instead of Dave, William instead of Will. But Sam is the exception for me. I think Sam is...just perfect.
You have to read the story of Samuel's (not ours) birth (here). It's so sweet for a momma. Hannah's husband loved her dearly, so much that he gave her a double portion. She couldn't have children, and wanted a son so badly that she ran to the temple and prayed and wept and begged of God. So desperately that everyone thought she was drunk in church. When she went home, God remembered her. He heard. Hannah had a son and named him Samuel, saying, "Because I asked the Lord for him."
It makes my mom-heart happy. To want babies, and to love babies, and to have a God who hears. I love what Beth Moore calls "God's great affectability." God is moved by us - by our struggles and desperate prayers. Samuel (from the Hebrew) means "God heard."
Robert: Dan's great grandfather is Robert Louis. His grandfather is Robert Demas, affectionately known as RD. Dan's father is Robert Christopher - Chris. And Dan is actually Robert Daniel. That's 4 generations of Roberts. On my side, I have a precious uncle, Robert Stephen, who passed away my junior year of college. He lived with us for a while, was my Dad's best friend, and a role model to my younger brother. He was enormously loyal and caring.
As a side note I also have 2 cousins that are Roberts - one on each side.
The name Robert is all up in our familes, on every side there is. By itself, I'm not totally wild about it, but it is so meaningful - there wasn't really even a question. We pretened for a while that we were open to other names, but I don't think either of us were actually considering anything besides Robert.
And just for kicks - it's apparently of Old German origin, meaning "Bright Fame." Pretty cool. Maybe he'll be a rock star and buy his mother a new car after he trashes the inevitable minivan with juice spills, goldfish cracker crumbs, and dirty shoes. Here's looking at you, Bright Fame.
So that is why we chose Samuel Robert for our first son. We liked it. God heard us. And we are happy to honor our families; heritage is precious.
(For the record no one else is allowed to refer to him as Sammy, EVER. I earned that right with literal blood, sweat, and tears. Nausea, heartburn, and vicious stretch marks. If anyone else calls him Sammy I'll totally play the labor trump card.)