How Gilbert Got His Name

Would you believe that our little star turned ONE on Monday?! That officially makes this the latest I have ever been to tell a name story. And I LOVE telling name stories, so you know I’ve been busy!

It was my name first, Gilbert, and my father’s before me and his father’s before that. My maiden name. I never cared for it growing up. I knew it only as a nerdy name from a movie I should never have seen so young (don’t judge me, things were different in the eighties!)

In college, I was introduced to Anne of Green Gables and began to see my name in a different light, or at least to realize that others did. It still took me until at least our 4th baby to take it seriously as a first name possibility.

Meanwhile, the name Gus was there all along. Living in Scotland, where Anguses and Ferguses abound, I fell in love with the name Gus when I was pregnant with Romilly 18 years ago. Trevor remained ambivalent on Gus through the years, no matter which full name I might suggest. His favorite boy name for all those years was Barnaby, which I loved, too, but didn’t feel quite brave enough to use, especially after we moved to the States. We were pretty solidly gridlocked, so it was a good thing we kept having girl after girl after girl!

I first suggested the combo Gilbert Barnabas, Gus for short, when I was expecting Verity in 2016 (I know this, I’m embarrassed to admit, because I keep records of such things!) I don’t remember how it was received then, but I know it wasn’t the name we ended up choosing for her if she’d been a boy. Sometimes Trevor needs to simmer for a long time!

The name Gilbert means “bright pledge.” Daniel 12: 3 says, “And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” My prayer for little Gus is that his life would shine brightly in this world and cause many to glorify God.

Barnabas, like Barnaby, means “son of encouragement.” A perfect meaning for this little son of ours who seems to bring a smile to the face of everyone he meets. And while it isn’t quite the name that Trevor pined for all those years, it does end in -us and so nicely closes the loop on the whole Gilbert-nickname-Gus situation.

Milo’s pregnancy was the first time Trevor actually agreed to the combo Gilbert Barnabas, but as you can probably tell, that is not Milo’s name. You can read that story here.

Gus was both desperately wanted and prayed for, and also a wonderful surprise. His pregnancy was different and stressful from the get-go. I think Trevor must have known that I needed the name not to be one more source of stress, because he let me have my way from the very beginning. When we received Gus’s Down syndrome diagnosis at 25 weeks pregnant, I asked if we could, for the first time in ten pregnancies, intentionally find out the gender ahead of time. (We found out with Freya as well, but quite by accident, and that’s a story for another time.)

The day we found out that Gus was a boy was a wonderful, hope-filled day, and we began calling him Gus and praying for him by name that very day.

A year later, I still look at him every day and pinch myself that I finally got my Gus. And, of course, that the name I’ve dreamed of using for so many years is attached to this boy.

One thought on “How Gilbert Got His Name

  1. What a beautiful boy, and what a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing + wishing you + your family every joy with your darling Gus.

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