What's in a Name?

M and I didn't spend a lot of time discussing baby names. We never consulted a book, or made a list. We were basically thinking botanical and traditional. Originally, we called our unborn child Rosemary. However, as you know, our cat is named Rosie. So this just seemed weird.

Mountain Laurel is the state flower of Pennsylvania. It grows in abundance in the mountainous areas all along the Appalachian Trail. We saw tons of it in the spring time in Virginia when we were hiking the AT. It looks similar to a rhododendron (another of my favorite flowers, but this was immediately rejected as a name), but with smaller leaves and more delicate clusters of flowers.

There are many different varieties of laurel across the globe. My Aunt Mary was recently in Spain, and she sent me this picture and wrote:

The tree is called (in French) un laurier rose. They grow all around the Mediterranean, some in pink, some in white. I took this photo in the gardens of the Alcazar in Cordoba on October 10th.
You probably know that the laurel's branches were made into wreathes and used to crown heroes in Ancient Greece and Rome. That's where our title "Poet Laureate" came from. The History of the Laurel Wreath Ovid told the story of Daphne and Apollo, in which Daphne is changed into a beautiful laurel tree. Love from Mary

So we call her Laurel in honor of the mountains we love.

Norine, of course, is the name of my grandmother, who died in February, just as Laurel's tiny heart began to beat. I threw up on the way to the funeral, and we were late, which was probably a good thing, because it might have been awkward to refuse the whiskey toast that happened right before we got there. I'm sorry that she did not have a chance to meet her great-granddaughter, but my grandmother was one person who never objected to me choosing adventure over motherhood in my twenties.

Laurel Norine has some other names. We called her Puddin' during my pregnancy, and still do. And she's also earned the nickname Caterpillar for the way she wriggles out of her swaddling blanket.

1 comment:

kxm said...

Lovely! I love the choice, glad you went with "Laurel" over "Mountain," and Norine goes well with it. Your grandma's legacy lives on, even if she has left you for now. Cheers, to the lives of three wonderful women!