Verity Laine: About the Name

Verity.  From the English word meaning “verity, truth”.  This was one of the virtue names adopted by the Puritans in the 17th century.



I’ll admit that Verity’s name has left me a little stumped in the “name story” department: how do I spin a name story about a name we have just loved forever?

With each of our babies, we (mostly I, let’s face it) had compiled a list of names, most of which we had considered for previous babies.  Names would come and go from the list, rising and falling from favor based on what middle name we were trying to accommodate or how they fit with the other kids’ names.  Over the years, certain names started to feel like “our names” even though we had never used them.  But with each of our girls, something new arrived on the list to tempt us away from “our names”, and without exception, it has been that sparkly new name that has ended up stealing our hearts and being “the one”.  Until this one.

I blame getting older.  For some reason, this time nothing new was taking center stage.  At the same time, the names we had loved for years seemed to speak to me with an urgency they’d never had before.  If we don’t use them now, who knows if we’ll ever get another chance?  I’m no Spring chicken these days, after all!

So, as the months ticked by, the list stood with names we had loved since way back when we were naming Pippa and Romilly, oldies but goodies that felt almost as familiar and beloved to me as the names we have actually bestowed.

Meanwhile, in the middle name spot… It had been our intention for a long time to stick to family names above our parents’ generation.  That way we would never have to choose to honor any one of our parents before another.  We thought we had a perfect opportunity while we were adopting Lewis to honor both my mother and Trevor’s mother at the same time, but I suffered a miscarriage that summer.  Lewis was still named for my mother as planned, but Trevor’s mum, Elaine, never got her little namesake.  When we learned we were expecting again, we knew that somehow, this little one would be named for her.

Elaine is a beautiful name, but it just wasn’t playing nice with first names that ended in vowel sounds, which was most of our list.  When we considered shortening it to Laine, lots of possibilities opened back up to us. I found myself particularly drawn to word names like flowers and virtues that were transformed into idyllic little street names when paired with Laine.  (Plus, do you hear how the E-laine is still there when you say her whole name outloud? That makes me happy, too.)


(A not-so-idyllic street sign, compliments of google.)

With two or three old favorite virtue names already on our list, I went on a brief quest for more that I hadn’t thought of (Velocity… Humidity… Manatee..!? It got a little silly.) before finally accepting that “the name” had probably been right under our noses all along.

Then, on a longish drive home from a family day at the lake, Trevor told me that he was already thinking of her as Verity, and I felt that little thrill I’d been waiting for for almost 8 months (the latest we’ve ever agreed on a name!)  It was perfect.  It was “the name”.

As with Lewis’s name, I had a friend I needed to check with first (and, for the record, it was the same friend!) She graciously assured me that name -sharing was considered an honor in her family, and I went home that night filled with that long-awaited peace of having chosen a name I absolutely adored for our baby girl.

Verity was all but named.  All but the small detail of not knowing whether she was a boy or a girl.  But we did know, really, didn’t we?

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