Our first daughter, Julia, was a name I had always loved when I was younger and I liked that my husband's grandfather's name was Julius, as well. She was the first great-grandchild on his side so it's kind of special.
My original dilemma was that we wanted to use her middle name as a name for our second child, but I know you recommend against this. We had been tossing around other names, but none of them felt quite right for us.Then, last week, my Aunt Charlotte passed away suddenly. She was my mom's only sister and Charlotte was also their mother's name. I had briefly considered this name beforehand, but wasn't sure if it was too formal for us or if it had become too trendy recently. Now I feel very strongly about incorporating Charlotte into the name if we have a girl. It's almost as if it were meant to be. Also, this might sound strange, but my Aunt Charlotte's birthday was the day after my grandmother's. It just so happens that my c-section is scheduled for the day after my birthday as well. (Coincidence or a sign?) That being said, the date is quickly approaching and we still haven't finalized anything. I know that my mom would be honored if we used Charlotte as a middle name, but is it too soon to use it as a first name? When I indirectly asked my mom about it, she said that it was a very strong name and that her mother and sister were the only two Charlottes she'd ever known... She assumed I might use it as a middle name and suggested Reese Charlotte.My question is, what are some other first names that would go well with Charlotte and would also sound nice with big sister Julia?Or should we just take a chance and try to use Charlotte as the first name? I'm guessing it would sound best with something short, but need some ideas.Just for reference, our boy name would be Cole Matthew- My father and grandfather are Nicholas and my husband is Matthew. Also, our last name is Winkler.Some of the other names we discussed in the past, but don't necessarily go with Charlotte are:StellaDelaneyMadeline (My husband only liked as a middle name, but he doesn't like that Maddy sounds too close to his name.)Grace (Although this is a beautiful name, it has a negative association with someone in his family so I'd rather not use it if we could find something better.)Thanks so much for your help, Swistle.
I don't think it is ever too soon to use an honor name. ...Well, as soon as I write something like that, I start thinking of examples where it might be. But in general, I think it is very touching to use the name of someone who died during your pregnancy, and I don't get any "too soon" feelings at all. The opposite, in fact---like it's MORE wonderful to use the name sooner.
It sounds from your letter as if your mom might be reacting not to the soonness/appropriateness but to her perception of the name as unusual. It's common for the grandparent generation to feel that that current parent generation is choosing names that are kind of weird or old-fashioned: my own mom confessed to having mixed feelings about the name Henry, since it seems old-mannish to her (though she said she was sure she'd love it on an actual grandchild). For them, it's probably close to the way we feel about names like Carol and Judy.
But if your mom's impression of the name comes from only knowing two Charlottes (both older ladies), that's likely to change soon: the name was the 27th most popular name for baby girls in 2011, according to the Social Security Administration, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it in the Top 10. The current perception is of vintage sweetness as well as strength.
And it sounds as if the timing is wonderful for this baby: not only does it give you a new name for your list, it's a name with the same sort of family meaning as your first child's name. And it's lovely and perfect with the name Julia: Julia and Charlotte! Wonderful.
You're right: I do generally advise against using one child's middle name as another child's first name. (More discussion on this topic in this post.) I also think the name Reese is a bit of a style mismatch with a sister named Julia. Julia is classic, ancient; Reese is unisex, modern, surnamey. But if you wouldn't mind continuing the theme for any future girls, Charlotte could have the same middle name as Julia: Charlotte Reese is very nice.
If you'd rather use Charlotte as the middle name, we could look for a first name that SOUNDS a little like Reese. Elise, for example. Elise Charlotte; Julia and Elise.
Or Rose. It has some of the feeling of the name Grace, but less common and without the negative family association. Rose Charlotte is so pretty, and Julia and Rose are so nice together.
Aubrey and Audrey are both nice with Charlotte and with Julia: Aubrey Charlotte, Audrey Charlotte. Aubrey has the additional upside of having the nickname Bree, which may remind you of the way you feel about the name Reese---while still giving her a longer form that goes well in style with the name Julia.
Delaney and Reese make me think of Sadie. Sadie Charlotte; Julia and Sadie.
Stella Charlotte is nice, or Ella Charlotte lightens it a bit.
Oh, or Anna Charlotte! So pretty! Julia and Anna.
Or Lydia Charlotte, Julia and Lydia.
Or Noelle Charlotte, Julia and Noelle.
Charlotte is visually long, but is only two syllables. I think you could go long on a first name: a name like Delaney Charlotte has only one more syllable than the name Julia Reese. Or Annalise Charlotte has the "ees" sound of Reese.
If you would like to go more with the style of Reese, I suggest the name Lane. Lane Charlotte; Julia and Lane.