The Meaning Behind the Names

When my husband and I were dating he made me a mixed CD (note: not a mixed tape…we only did that in high school). It contained the modern version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel. That song started showing up everywhere we went. A stranger in Albuquerque, New Mexico approached us at an outdoor café and began serenading us with this song on violin. The first movie we went to was 50 First Dates which featured this song. It was the song we played at our wedding when our attendants walked down the aisle. We dubbed it “our song.”

The stranger serenading us with “our song” of Somewhere Over the Rainbow

When it came time to name our first born daughter I was perusing a baby name book and came upon the name Iris. Iris was the Greek goddess of rainbows. She filled the clouds with water when they were depleted. We instantly knew we had to name our daughter this. Before our daughter Iris ever knew what her name meant she was fascinated with rainbows and still is to this day. Her birthday happened to land right when the flower irises are blooming so in the hospital where I delivered Iris, my sister sent up a huge bouquet. We have planted many irises in our yard, so during her birthday month our gardens are filled with irises. We have since told Iris what her name means and she has told many people that she is a goddess of rainbows. I think she is too because she fills our life with a spectacular beauty every day, that until she came I had only ever seen in a rainbow!

Iris right after she was born in front of her bouquet of irises

Iris on her 5th beauty in awe of the beauty of the irises

When we were expecting our second child and first son we found out my due date was to be on my husband’s, deceased father’s birthday. He had been a very important man in their family and is dearly missed by everyone. I never had the chance to meet him but my husband assures me that I would have loved him. Even though our son didn’t end up being born on his grandfather’s birthday it was already a firm decision that he would be handed down his grandpa’s name of Bency and carry my father’s name as his middle name. Our Bency even carries a second middle name of Harper. We weren’t sure if we were going to have more children and both my husband and I are huge Ben Harper fans (musician) and our whole wedding theme was based off his song, Fire and Ice, so we added Harper as well to his name. My husband comes from a large family and one of his brothers is also named Bency, as well as 2 or 3 other grandchildren carry this name as either their first or middle name. This makes for a lot of Bency’s in this family now and the funny thing is….my father-in-law wasn’t actually born with the name Bency! My mother-in-law can’t remember his real name but it started with Ben but was much longer. He had always gone by the name of Bency and so as a young adult, he had it legally changed! I am beginning to see the resemblance between my son and his grandfather.

Our 5 year old Bency

Grandpa Bency on his wedding day

When we got pregnant with our third child and second son the naming thing got very difficult. We had used up all of our historically, meaningful names and began flipping through the baby name book to see if anything conjured up the same kind of feeling of “this is IT!” Nothing did. Unlike our other two children who had their names in place pretty much two days after the pink line showed up on the pregnancy test, our third child was left nameless for months and months.

During my pregnancy with my third child, we had a dog. The dog was neurotic and psychotic. We got him as a puppy a month before I found out I was expecting. He was strangely attached to me and only me. He couldn’t bear the thought of me being out of his sight. If I dared leave the house to go grocery shopping I would come home to the house torn apart. He didn’t want other people by me and would growl and bear his teeth at anyone who got too close to me. Due to his strange behavior I found myself watching hours upon hours of The Dog Whisperer. This show presented some of the worst behaving dogs and a man would show the proper way to end these bad behaviors. The man who had a way with dogs and could tame the unruliest of canines was named Cesar Millan. I liked Cesar. He seemed like a very nice man and certainly had a talent I was lacking and had never seen. I asked my husband, Alex, one day if he liked the name Cesar. He said he did. I asked him if he wanted to name our son this. He said he did. That was that. I looked up the meaning of this name and it meant “full head of hair.” I felt this to be perfect because both of my other kids were born with…full heads of hair…so I was very sure this would be the case with our third. IT WASN’T! My Cesar was bald until he was almost 18 months old. However, our son has lived up to his name in a different way. Even though we chose the Spanish spelling due to his Hispanic heritage he has come to imitate Julius Caesar. He has the power in our household. He is the leader of our alliance of 5. We all bow down to him and say “Hail Cesar” as we scramble to meet his demands of more cookies!!

Our leader Cesar!


I ate a Caesar salad for my first meal after his birth!