What’s In A Name?

I’ve often heard that naming a child is one of the hardest decisions you’ll ever make. For Andy & I it was a bit comical at times but, in the end, our son’s name came pretty easily.

Shortly after we found out we were pregnant, folks started asking “what names are y’all considering?”. To be honest, we weren’t. We were in the very beginning of our 2nd trimester and were enjoying just “expecting” our 1st child. We hadn’t found out whether baby Szapacs would be a boy or a girl yet (although if you asked Andy, my father, his father, or my brother they already knew- it was a boy) and I struggled with not wanting to place a definitive name on a soul I knew so little about.

As we begun to plan Baby’s nursery and learn about products other moms & dads couldn’t live without, the name discussion was never far from our minds.

I ordered a few baby name books and, each night as we sat in bed, I would read a list of names from one of the books out loud and Andy would say “yes” or “no” depending on his initial reaction. This method really got us nowhere (on a side note: if you know someone looking for baby name books I’ll happily contribute our gently used ones to their cause.).

I have always been a proponent of family names myself. Knowing you were named in memory/honor of someone who has come before, to me, is a special thing. Andy & I joked that most of my family names (Doug, Jack, Lester) wouldn’t fit well with Szapacs. Andy also had some strict guidelines as to the syllable flow of a name. (Next time you see Andy just ask him).

I remember the day we learned we were having a boy very vividly. We spent the day telling friends and family our good news (and yes, telling all the men they were right). That evening as we were winding down our day, I stood in our closet, turned to Andy, and said “Nicholas Christopher. Think about it.”. No matter what other names we came across, nothing stuck with us like Nicholas Christopher. And so, it was.

Nicholas Christopher is a named after 2 important men in our lives.

1st, Nicholas comes from Andy’s Uncle Nick. There are only a rare few folks in Andy’s life that, at the mention of their name, bring tears to his eyes. Uncle Nick is one of those people. Uncle Nick was a 2nd father to Andy seeing him through scouts, teaching him to hunt and fish and that nothing feels better than a hard days work. Uncle Nick rarely missed an event in Andy’s life- he even drove Andy to Penn State one year and helped him move into school. Uncle Nick has meant a lot to both of us – most recently he was was even our proud ring bearer at our wedding.

Now, Christopher. Christopher comes from Phil Christopher – my dad. Phil isn’t just dad to me -he is one of the best kinds of dads around- a dad who didn’t have to be. My father passed away when Parker (my brother) and I were young. Phil married my mom and became dad to a melodramatic, headstrong, girly-girl (me, of course). He sat through countless dance recitals and competitions, taught me to drive, showed me what “hard work” really meant, and is the reason I am a solid businesswoman today. (Yes, he also sat through many a dramatic “my world is going to end if I can’t have/do/be allowed this one little thing” tantrums but I prefer to skim over those parts.) Over 20 years later, he stills loves me as his own. Having him walk me down the aisle and dance on the dock at the lake with me on my wedding day are memories I will never forget.

A dear friend from work wrote me a few weeks back and reminded me that the reason we were put on this earth was the love and serve others. Amen. Nick and Phil embody her words and our thoughts – and are the perfect names for our son.

4 thoughts on “What’s In A Name?

  1. Love to hear stories of how people have chosen their children’s names. Such a beautiful story for such a strong little boy. So glad he’s getting better every day. Sending love, hugs and prayers to all of you.


  2. Love hearing about the people behind Nicholas’s name, though of course we knew about the “Christopher” part. He is truly, from the get-go, a great combination of your two families, and thus wrapped in love from both. We are sending you all lots of love!


  3. I agree with you about the family names! I think there’s just something so special about it! Nicholas is lucky to have 2 special people to inspire his name. My boys both have a “piece” of our families in their middle names… “Bennett” after Brandon’s grandparents, Benjamin and Annette (a little combo action was in order), and “Banning” for my mom’s middle name, Ann (we couldn’t very well name our son Maverick Ann, so we put a “manly” twist on it). I hope they treasure their names as much as we treasure those people in our lives!


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