The meaning of June’s name

18 January 2016

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The first name I can remember wanting to bestow on my future daughter was Lemonade. This was probably around age four or five, maybe at the height of my driveway entrepreneurship.

The next name that came into favor was Scheherazade, in elementary school. Scheherazade was the name of my favorite horse at my aunt’s farm. She was a beautiful dapple gray, and I was in love with her, so obviously it made sense for my future child to share her name.

Later, I fixated on the name Ava. My aunt was pregnant, and if it was a girl, they were going to call her Ava, and I fell in love with that name alongside them. They ended up having a boy, and Ava ended up becoming massively popular, so it eventually lost its luster for me.

The next and final name I fell in love with was June, sometime in high school. And, well, here we are. There’s no grand story of why I love this name so much, or why it’s stuck with me for so long, but there are many smaller reasons:

I love that it’s sweet and feminine without being saccharine.

I love that it’s simple, everyone knows how to spell it, and everyone is familiar with it, but it’s not that common.

I love that it’s a little old-school without sounding too hipster-ish.

I love that it works for a little girl as well as a grown-up lady.

As an adopted Southerner, I love that it has a light Dixie flair, thanks to June Carter Cash — and that I now have my very own Johnny and June :)

I love that John, who loves summer more than anyone I’ve ever met, will always have a little piece of sunshine in his life.

And finally, I love that I’ve only known one other June, and that I’d be proud if our daughter were to share some of her characteristics. She was a fairly distant relative (the grandmother of my fourth cousins), but one I grew up seeing every summer. That June was strong, courageous, gracious, smart, a loving wife and mother, a woman of faith, a talented piano player, a beautiful singer, and a true Southerner. We didn’t name our June after her, but I’d be proud for our girl to take after her.

Which brings us to her middle name, which actually was chosen because of a relative – John’s mom. My sisters and I all have family surnames as our middle names, and though I hated this when I was younger, I now, of course, love the tradition and want to continue it. My mother-in-law’s maiden name is Chen. She was born in China, then, under pressure from the communist party, escaped to Taiwan with her family. She immigrated to America in her 20’s and went on to earn her Ph.D. Aside from honoring Mama Jean, a fantastic lady, John and I love that our June’s middle name will speak to the larger story of the hope, possibility, freedom, and opportunity that’s always been found in America. We want her to know the power of that story, the power of resilience and hard work, and that she has the ability to make her life all she wants it to be.

So far, it seems to fit :)

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January 18, 2016 7:57 am

Beautiful name for a beautiful little lady! I love the story behind a name … thank you for sharing! Love you all!

January 18, 2016 9:03 am

Wow. What a beautifully written post, Emily. I loved the name you chose for your sweet girl the minute I heard about her arrival, and now I’m so happy to know more about how that beautiful name came to be.

January 18, 2016 9:34 am

I love the stories behind each of your daughter’s names. They are so special and will always give her such a strong connection. My birth middle name was my paternal grandmother’s maiden name and even though I hated it most of my childhood, when it came to drop it when I got married, it was a lot harder than I thought it would be.

January 18, 2016 9:49 am

What a special, beautiful name for a special, beautiful little girl! I knew you would have thoughtfully chosen a name for June, and I couldn’t wait for the big reveal. I love hearing the story + meaning behind a name – it’s always so fascinating to me! Hope you’re loving every minute of those sweet baby snuggles!!

January 18, 2016 10:13 am

I’ve been hoping and waiting for a post like this.. I just knew that y’all would have deep and sweet meaning behind your sweet girl’s name! The second you shared June seemed like the most appropriate name, and I genuinely love the story behind her middle name as well. So perfect. Hope you’re enjoying all those newborn snuggles- I look forward to picking your brain in the months ahead! :)

January 18, 2016 12:57 pm

Such a beautiful name and a wonderful post! Congratulations to you and your family on a beautiful baby!

January 18, 2016 5:44 pm

oh my stars, i just love this name! so sweet. and your story behind the middle name is wonderful. My middle name is Jean, and I’m named after my british great-grandmother was just the bees knees. I love having her name as my middle and plan to carry that tradition too. :)

January 19, 2016 8:14 am

Love this story & meaning – how beautiful! So thrilled for you guys!

January 19, 2016 10:13 am

Love this! A great, thoughtfully chosen name for a wonderful girl!

January 19, 2016 11:39 am

Loved reading this and love little Miss June’s name and the meaning behind it. Can’t wait to see the newborn/family session photos!

January 19, 2016 7:54 pm

…and June was the name of my first Sunday school teacher. A good association.

January 19, 2016 11:29 pm

June is such a lovely, charming, timeless name. I love this Emily!

January 20, 2016 9:56 am

Emily, Thank you for the lovely and accurate description of my mother, June. It brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face.

January 20, 2016 10:29 am

Very beautiful, miss Em. A wonderful name! And I have to say, if she has any of Mama Jean’s absolute even keel, intelligence, and humility, little June will thrive.

January 20, 2016 4:43 pm

Oh, Emily, what a beautiful writer you are! I love that you even remembered all the “daughter” names you picked and had reasons for all of them. I love all the reasons you chose Little June’s names and that our June (not so distant, really, if you think of seeing her every summer…only in the lineage!) will keep her place alive in our family. I’ll confess that my parents liked the name Susan (NMI) and hunted in the family until they found one they could name me after. Susan Brannigan Sullivan has many stories to her credit, but the one I most resisted as a child was, when she got “stately” and the doorbell rang, her parrot would screech: HURRY UP, SUSAN, HURRY UP, SUSAN! S.S. PIERCE IS CALLING! Otherwise, her stories are fascinating ones, and I’ll keep her name happily. Can’t wait to meet this darling creature who is June Chen Thomas! XO

Tom S
January 20, 2016 6:00 pm

What a lovely description of my mother. I echo what Peggy said above.

January 21, 2016 10:52 pm

I love the name June! It’s a family name for me, too, and I’ve been hoping to use it for a someday-daughter. Your little June is adorable!

Bonnita Chazen
January 22, 2016 1:54 am

A really gorgeous name, so special and such a lovely story behind it. I hope that I too can one day name my daughter after my grandmother who was a wonderful lady!
It’s always so special to read what you write, especially when it comes from your heart. It always brightens my day, Thank you.

January 25, 2016 5:25 pm

I love every reason behind your baby girl’s beautiful name! Hope you and John are adjusting well and enjoying soaking up all the love!

January 27, 2016 11:30 am

Hehe! Catching up on your blog and just love this post. Sweet June. We can’t wait to meet you!

February 20, 2016 10:01 pm

I absolutely love the story behind her name!