When people ask me how we came up with Scarlet Bella’s name I often hesitate because there’s no one clear answer. It’s like our “how we met” story, which is a story for another post. It’s not easy to give all the reasons for her name, yet I don’t want to give only part of the story either.
I don’t know when I first thought of Scarlet as a name but I know it was somewhere around ten years ago and that once it came to be, it existed as if it’s always been there. And maybe it has.
I believe that I have always known that I’d one day have a daughter. You know how when you’re trying to remember or create something, like the name of a movie star or an idea for a blog entry, you can go through your daily life normally while your brain sub-consciously gets closer and closer to it and then…LIGHTBULB…the answer seems to come out of the blue? And you know it’s not coming out of the blue and that your brain has been on auto-pilot all along, but it still feels sudden.
I think since I “knew” I was going to have a daughter, my brain was always searching for clues under the surface, getting closer and closer throughout most of my life until….LIGHTBULB….
“How about Scarlet?” I suggested one day. I can’t remember when this was, whether it was by email when we still lived 3,000 miles apart or if it was when we were sitting together in our San Francisco apartment – I do know that Cassidy agreed to it as a top contender pretty fast. And I know this was before any talk of babies, or even a wedding. Even after we had discussed this name and held it secretly close to our hearts, this name that had followed me in my past and was circling us in our present, it was still to creep up in our future – actually right when Scarlet was conceived. So I’m going to give a list of a few of the ways in which “Scarlet” has played into our lives to give insight on how she was named:
– Me, my father, my dad, my sisters, my grandfather, and probably more family than I can remember have all gone to Rutgers University. Their mascot is the Scarlet Knight.
– When I was in fifth grade we did a unit on rain forests and I became OBSESSED with Scarlet Macaws. I think it was because they’re rainbow colored and rainbows were one of my childhood obsessions. More on that when I discuss where we got her middle name, Bella, below.
– “Scarlet’s Walk” is not my favorite Tori Amos album – nothing could replace “Under the Pink” for me – but it did heavily influence how I look at lyric writing, America and road trips.
– Different shades of reds have been my favorite colors for as long as I can remember, or since I outgrew the neon pink era. Red itself has never been my favorite color to wear because I think it makes me look pale whereas dark pinks and maroons are just right. I love reading the different red descriptions in catalogs like Victoria’s Secret and Land’s End. Of all of them, I most would want to buy a Scarlet-colored sweater.
– When Cassidy and I first got back together, we stayed with our friend Scarlett at Scarlet’s Country Inn in Calistoga: http://scarlettscountryinn.com/.
The difference is that we chose to spell our Scarlet’s name with one “T” but we do dream that our Scarlet will grow up to be as elegant, kind-hearted, dream-catching, timeless, and as wise as Calistoga’s Scarlett.
– In our wedding vows, I vowed to explore the magical realm of the Grateful Dead for Cassidy. Before that vow, I really only knew “Touch of Grey.” Pathetic. So a lot of my schooling happened six months into our marriage on our two and a half week road trip to move back East. We listened to the Dead something like 80% of that trip and they calmly sang us through one of the most harrowing moments of our lives – getting off of a giant mountain during a sudden blizzard in the Rockies. So you can see why I think their music has healing powers. “Scarlet Begonias” is a favorite song of ours.
As for her middle name, Bella, Well that one’s easy. That was my grandmother’s name. No Isabella – just Bella. She was magic. I could write on and on about her with tears streaming down my eyes but I think I’ll just post the few paragraphs I wrote about her in the “We Remember…” dedication section of our wedding program:
When I think of Bella Klein, I always think of the phrase, “larger than life,” because she lived life so big and true. There was not enough room in this world for her huge heart; as well as there is not enough room in this world for our pain at losing her. The quintessential perfect Jewish grandmother, she taught us how to dip bowls of ice cream into rainbow sprinkles and how to be properly tucked into bed at night. This involved yelling “Alley-oop!” and throwing blankets well over our heads as we shrieked with laughter.
I went to college quite close to her home and when I first started as a freshman, I was so nervous that my throat closed and her magical salad was the only food I could get down. I wish I had known then that my time with Grandma Bella was limited because I would have screamed to the sky and been around her 24/7 just to say, “I LOVE YOU” a thousand times. It would never have been enough. Luckily those were my last words to her anyway, thought I didn’t know at the time that they would be. Her funeral was on a clear, dry day in December. We were all dying a little that day…until someone said, “Look up in the sky” and brought the ceremony to a standstill. I’m no scientist but vivid, full rainbows with arcs do not appear on clear, dry, wintery days yet there were two in the sky directly above our group. We all became believers of magic that day. However to know Bella alive was to be a believer anyway.