As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

My Little Mary

I've never done a link-up before, but I have been meaning to write a post in honor of the month of Mary about how our little Mary got her name.  My orginal hope was to do it on Mother's Day, but that had me on an unexpected whirlwind vacation alone with my husband (the first we've ever taken alone together for as long as we did - six days of pure bliss!) and I was not able to post.  So when I found out that Elise over at In Endless Song was hosting a link-up of posts on Mary, I didn't want to let the opportunity slip away. (Thanks for the encouragement, Elise!)  So without further ado, here is my story of how the Lord has chosen Mary for us.

In August of 2012, I was eight months pregnant with my sixth child.  Some very good friends of ours had generously offered to stay at our house with the kids to give us a weekend away, what would likely be our last opportunity to get away without kids for a very long time.  As was the case with each of our previous children, we did not know the sex of the baby before the birth.  And as was also the case, we could not agree on names if our lives depended on it.

Up until this point we were still relatively undecided on a boy name, but had settled on Emily for a girl. By then we had four boys and one girl, and had decided to use papal names as middle names for the boys, so we thought it would be nice to use Marian names as middle names for the girls. "Emily Maria" was seeming like a good possibility, or "Emily Mary", "Emily Stella", or "Emily Grace".  I tossed ideas around in my head constantly, until our weekend away at Mass when the choir at the parish we were visiting began to sing, "Salve Regina" and I started to weep.  In that moment I felt so strongly the Lord saying, "You are having a girl, and you will name her Mary."  I was overjoyed!  I couldn't wait until Mass was over to tell my husband, a) because I knew he would be skeptical, and in case she really was a girl I wanted to be sure I had said so before, not at the birth! and b) because my husband is an avid lover of Latin, and I was certain that he would love the name Regina.  He HATED it!  And he thought I was crazy.  So we finished our vacation and returned home to our families renewed and uplifted.

The last two months of pregnancy went quickly (as they always do) and before long we were at the hospital waiting for number six to arrive.  The labour was slow and steady, similar to my labor for my older daughter and a stark contrast to the quick deliveries of my boys, a fact that made me certain I was having another girl. It was much more painful than the others however, and as I journeyed through the process of bringing our little girl into the world I felt Jesus close to me the whole time.  Trying to formulate the words of a prayer seemed impossible at the time, and the only word I could manage was, "Jesus". He was so gentle, and so near, right by my side as my baby entered the world.

I was not surprised at the announcement that she was a girl, but I could not have been more shocked when my husband announced her name - Mary Clarice.  Mary?  I thought.  Of all the names of the Blessed Mother, Mary is probably the last one I would have chosen.  I have long loved the name Maria, but Mary took a while to grow on me.  My husband left it up to me whether we hypenated her names "Mary-Clarice" or left them as two names on their own.  He also left the decision as to whether to add a third name as a middle name up to me.  Long after everyone left I snuggled with my baby, trying her new name out on her over and over to try and get a good feel for what we would call her.  The idea of a hyphenated name never really appealed to me, but trying a few other names as middle names (Mary Clarice Elizabeth, Mary Clarice Anne) just seemed to be too cumbersome. It was clear pretty quick that Mary Clarice was sufficient, but I was still not sold on Mary.  "I'll still call her Maria," I thought, kind of like a nickname that denotes affection.  But it didn't seem to fit.  I thought I would try "Claire", another name I had long loved and that would be a shortened name of her middle name (which is my mother's and Jeff's grandmother's names) but that didn't fit either.  The harder I tried, the more clear it became - Mary was the name that suited her best.  She was Mary.

It wasn't until she was several months old that I remembered my experience at the church earlier that summer, and then it all became clear. "You are having a girl, and you will name her Mary."  I had forgotten all about it but God didn't, and that was the reason this name was on my husband's heart on her birth day.  The announcement of "Mary Clarice" came as a shock to everyone except God, and now that she is 19-months-old it warms my heart to know that this little baby, born to us in October, which is also recognized as a month of Mary, has been chosen for us to be a namesake of the Blessed Mother.  Like her namesake she seems to ponder things in her heart, and brings such joy and peace to our family.  I am so thankful that God did this in a way that I couldn't argue with or change my mind.  Had my husband mentioned the name Mary before the delivery room I probably would have talked him out of it. But there, in all the emotions of just having delivered a new baby, there was no protest.  Her name is Mary.  I could not have chosen anything more beautiful.


  1. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. I think Mary Clarice is an absolutely wonderful name, very "musical!" It seems as if our Lord Himself chose her name... the name of His own mother. Imagine. What a privilege.

  2. This is such a wonderful story, Natasha! Thank you for sharing this witness to how God can work in our lives in such a real, powerful way. So glad to have this in the linkup collection!