I actually wrote this awhile ago and forgot about it, but I saw today is the feast day of St. Perpetua and St. Felicity so I thought it would be the perfect day for this post.
We've been pondering baby names for what is probably longer than is sane to admit so I'll leave that number up to you to guess. Anyway, Elise Anne was our girl name for Ryan's pregnancy and for Conor's pregnancy. But by the time we reached Baby #3, I wasn't sure that I loved the name Elise as much as I loved our boy name so I started to waiver and totally fell in love with the name Felicity. Chris was still for sticking to our plan and having a little Elise so girl naming rights became marital banter. "Okay, I'll bake oatmeal cookies, but only if we can name her Felicity ..." or "I'll get Chick-fil-a for you and Elise ..." Chris quite unfairly, but thankfully also teasingly, had us play shuffleboard for naming rights on our anniversary.
The one given about our potential girl name was Anne as a middle name after Chris' grandma who also happens to be his godmother. When we were out in California watching Chris' siblings, I was chatting with Grandma about the baby. She had been really ill, and we all knew she was getting worse. I let her know that Chris and I were currently battling it out over girl names: Elise Anne or Felicity Anne. Grandma was always one to smile and assure you softly, "Oh, both are just beautiful," in the most sincere way. But that isn't what Grandma said! She told me with the same loving smile she always had, "I like Elise."
The story qualified as another hint that Grandma knew her time was drawing near, and I told everyone else at the house about it. Everyone agreed how out of character it was. Chris had already flown home to Indiana, and a few days later the boys and I and our question mark joined him.
The jesting continued. Elise or Lici. During the Easter Vigil, I elbowed Chris with a ha! wink when the name Felicity rang out during the Eucharistic Prayer.
A few days later, I was late as always picking Chris up from school. He got into the car, and I typically started to talk a mile a minute as I slowly turned the car around. My speedtalking came to a halt when I heard, "Grandma died."
What do you say when one of the women who made your husband who he is passes away?
Grandma helped me answer that question. A long hug at first and then,
"We know our baby girl name now."
Chris was understandably confused so I told him the story about Grandma's decisiveness. He was so touched that our baby (if the baby were a girl!) had a name chosen by the saintly woman that was both his grandmother and godmother. It was a comfort in the midst of a lot of sorrow.
And so that is how we have our Elise Anne.
If you'd like more background on her name: we call her Elise, Elise Anne, Elise Annie, and have decided instead of Lisey (with two long e's) to nickname her Lici (short i then long e like in Felicity). She has the most saintly name out of all of our children. I wrote about choosing Ryan here, and then Kate at Sancta Nomina kindly did a spotlight on his name here. I still need to write one about Conor's name ... but (spoiler) it's pretty similar to Ryan's story. Compared to her brothers' names, Elise's name comes with so many intercessors! St. Elizabeth, cousin of the Blessed Mother and mother of St. John the Baptist, a true example of faith and awe of God. St. Anne, mother of the the Blessed Mother, patron saint of mothers among many other patronages. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, a wife, mother, caring sister-in-law, widow, convert and founder of a religious community. Actually last year, the first time Elise participated in the saint of the year tradition, she grabbed a piece of paper out of the bowl and who was the saint? St. Elizabeth Ann Seton for Elise Anne. Wow! Now that we call her Lici, too, I feel like we can tack on St. Felicity as a patroness, as well. This girl is set.