When I was quite (quite) pregnant with the baby that turned out to be Wilson, our family was interviewed on the local news about our unique Presidential naming scheme. To be fair, it wasn’t so much that we were special as it was that we had a connection to the news station through a friend, but for our kids, it certainly felt special at the time. And five years later (and with our fifth little POTUS in tow), one of the most received comments/compliments we still get is that people love our kids’ names.
Raegan was the name I picked first because it allowed me to incorporate my middle name into my child’s name, but of course we didn’t find out genders before births, so we went in with two names each time. It just so happened that I had heard the name Harrison shortly before we first got pregnant and quickly became obsessed. This meant that before a baby arrived, a theme was born – totally by accident – and it stuck.
After Harrison claimed the opening spot, the dominos continued to fall with Raegan and Lincoln being our next two name choices and then our next two babies. It was after Lincoln’s birth (on the 4th of July, no less) that people outside our families and closer circles started to say, “Ohhhhhhh, I see what you’re doing there!” which was pretty funny because we’d never kept it a secret, but yes – once you have a Raegan and a Lincoln, people take notice (and also probably assume you’re a Republican which is quite (quite) wrong).
I honestly don’t remember what girl name we had on deck for Lincoln or Truman, so perhaps it was good that we didn’t need to use whatever it was because clearly I was not sold on it. I know Roosevelt was kind of in the running, but I thought a someday-teenager named Roosevelt might disown me for being so theme-adherent, so that was probably a bluff all along. Since people had by then picked up on our narrow POTUS list, they started chiming in with ideas, two of which were the most popular girl names in the overall category – Madison and Kennedy. While I didn’t explain this to most people at the time, both were out because one of those is a family name and the other was the last name of not one but two of my ex-boyfriends, so nope – was never going to happen!
Truman was a fun one to pick because it landed me – finally – with a Democrat on the docket. Of course we never actually named any of our children after these specific men; it has always been theme over person. That said, it was still nice to bring a little balance to the scales; however, oddly enough, we then landed with another accidental theme that became extra problematic when I got pregnant with Baby No.5 – alllll of our children’s names end in “n” which was by no means intentional and ended up making an already tight list super short.
My aunt had some funny ideas for Baby No.5 and pushed Buchannan for a boy (she said, “Call the baby “Buck” for short”) and Nixon for a girl (“Call her Nicki”). While I chuckled at both of those, neither one seemed right and we ended up going with Clinton and Wilson, although we definitely did not tell anyone that because we never did. After hearing horror stories of relatives weighing in on people’s baby name selections, there was no way I was going to let anyone other than Ben and I have a say in that, so we were 100% tight lipped the entire time for each pregnancy. I wouldn’t even tell my family what our opposite sex name choices were that didn’t get used, because what if we used them next time?! (which, see above – we totally did!).
The other happy accident in baby naming is that several of the kids’ initials, which I refer to each of them by constantly in my writing and life in general, flow directly from one to the next: HD, RL, LT, TJ, WA. And I call HD & WA our bookends, which they do for that list, too; it is just so perfect.
Those middle initials are all family names, by the way. So even though our POTUS picks don’t have a lick of personal attachment to them, our kids are anchored deeply in family connection and names.
Did I let my English Major nerd side show by picking a theme and sticking with it for five babies over the course of eight years? Yes, yes I did. But I love our little presidents so much. And even though I don’t want to be on the news again, I agree with all the comments that they are such a cool grouping.