Naming a baby is complicated. There are so many factors, stories, people, and considerations. You want a name that means something, a name that inspires, a name that encourages, a name that will fit the baby at any age, a name that's admissible and employable, a name that's easy to spell and pronounce, and a name that reflects the parents' values but that leaves the baby space to become themselves. Even with these tensions, our initial list was somewhat long.
We did not want to choose our baby's name based on gender, so we only considered gender-neutral names. Whatever the gender of the baby at birth or later, we wanted to choose a name that could bend and flex with the baby as they grow. That shortened the list.
Since we are both teachers, we eliminated the names of students we've had, especially the difficult ones. That significantly shortened the list.
I tend to like names with historical and personal significance, as if naming the baby that name would pass on the legacy of the person for whom they're named. My husband tends to like mythological and medieval names, unique and uncommon. After he nixed some of mine and I nixed some of his, we found ourselves revolving around 3-4 names that we both liked.
But none of them felt right. We liked them as middle names, but none of them felt right as a first name. We narrowed down to one choice for the middle name, and kept searching for baby's first name.
So, we turned to what we have in common. My husband and I grew up in different cities, and to some extent, in different times. But we both are skaters, and in fact, we both trained at Dr. Pepper Stars Centers, the rinks established through the Dallas Stars NHL team throughout the Dallas Fort Worth area. No matter what was going on, the rink was and has been our safe space. This gave us the idea to choose a skating name for our baby. And though this baby's big brother Stanley was named for my maternal grandfather, Stanley is a great skating name, too! #StanleyCup #SkateMance
Seren is the Welsh word for "star." It's gender-neutral, interesting, unique, easy to spell and pronounce, and the right blend of austere and whimsical. It has medieval flair and twenty-first century innovation. We knew it was right as soon as we found it.
We chose Foster for baby's middle name, in honor of Dr. Ruth Ann Foster, my seminary professor who initiated my feminist awakening and who opened my eyes to new ways to encounter the biblical text. My later research on Rev. Dr. Prathia Hall would shape me as a preacher and scholar, but I would not have been prepared to encounter Hall's prophetic proclamation had Foster not catalyzed me. We also like that the word "foster" signals leadership, insight, hospitality, and relationship. It's a collaborative word, pointing toward building transformation.
Seren Foster Pace-Owen
is due May 9, 2020. We've got their skates ready.