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On baby names: light + bright

Lucy means light.

It took us a long time to commit to Lucy’s name. I felt like naming a child I didn’t yet know--giving her a word, a sound, a meaning, a symbol--was like trying to corner her into a personality type. Should her name be quirky or academic or sporty or regal? As a person who loves words and places such strong importance upon them, I stressed at the weight of the responsibility.

I had so much criteria for my first baby’s name. It would need to set the tone for all future siblings. It needed to be a name I loved to hear and say. I wanted a name with substantial or symbolic meaning. It needed to be a name that had been worn by strong women in the past, but that sounded fresh and novel on a baby.

Light is the perfect meaning for a baby whose fiery presence I’d sensed before I even took a pregnancy test. Lucy used to be a name given to babies born at dawn, which she was not, but I’ve always thought of her name’s relationship with the sun, a light source.

We miscarried the baby before her after returning from a vacation to St. Lucia, and I like that Lucy will always bear a symbolic connection to the pregnancy before her. Lucy is a saint’s name, a suffragette’s name, a comedic icon’s name, and Alex’s grandmother’s name.

And now it’s the perfect name for our first born, our sun, our energetic, fiery, warm, blazing light.

Lucy Sophia, light and wisdom.


Phoebe means bright.

It took us zero time to commit to Phoebe’s name. We knew she was Phoebe as soon as we found out she was a girl. The name fit all of our criteria: strong, timeless, symbolic. As a bonus, we had yet to meet a single Phoebe in our 2.5 years of being immersed in the world of baby and toddlers.

“Do you have a name yet?” people asked, and I willingly shared: “Phoebe.”  I had no anxiety about whether or not people would like it, comment on it, grimace at it, steal it, or quote FRIENDS. Bright, shining Phoebe complements her sister and shares her name’s meaning in her own way. Where Lucy sent me fiery energy during pregnancy, Phoebe sent calm. She sent peace. She sent quiet.

It fits, then, that Phoebe is a Greek goddess of the moon. She is also a biblical badass, thought to be the one who delivered Paul’s letter to the Romans. She appears in literature and comedy, often as a woman or girl who is decidedly, uniquely, unapologetically herself.

And now she is ours, too. A sister moon for our sun, she’s radiant, shining, and bright.

Phoebe Scout, bright adventurer.


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