One cool spring afternoon, Andy said, “Come on! Let’s go for a walk.” The sky was heavy with clouds. I was sure they were about to burst.  I was exactly 9 months pregnant. And I wasn’t very enthusiastic about taking my huge body for a waddle in the rain.

“The exercise might encourage the baby along,” said my husband.

I had experienced a few overdue births, and I quite liked the idea of avoiding another one. A walk around the park? Yes! But then I remembered something very important. I wasn't ready to give birth. Our baby had no name.

Our baby had no name? Well, that’s not quite true. There were a few possible boys' names on our list. But we had no girls’ names at all. Now that’s not quite true either. If the baby was a girl, we really wanted to call her Charlotte but I didn’t know if we should. You see, my grandmother was called Charlotte. You’d think she’d like a great granddaughter bearing her name, wouldn’t you? But I’d heard a family story that indicated she wouldn’t be happy about this at all.

“Your grandmother never liked her name. When another baby in the family was called Charlotte, she said, ‘Why did you call her that awful name?’”

What were we to do? We’d have to find another name we liked just as much. That was proving very difficult.

So we didn't go for that walk? Actually we did. I didn’t really believe a gentle walk around the park would have any effect on our unborn child. I remembered Felicity, our first baby. She was weeks overdue. We tried everything, including exercise. And not just gentle exercise either. One evening Andy took me for a run (a proper run) through town. I wonder what people thought as Andy flashed past with a huge pregnant woman in tow. Well, the run did absolutely nothing. Felicity stayed safely where she was until an induction was booked. But that’s another story…

So a walk around the park? No danger of it inducing birth. No danger at all.

But we didn’t end up walking around the park. Oh yes, we started in the park but soon Andy was striding ahead and along the road and up a hill. A hill? It was more like a mountain. I’m not exaggerating. You need to be fit to climb that hill… fit and not pregnant. Andy and our other children disappeared from sight. I bravely plodded after them. Hours later, I arrived at the summit. Everyone was waiting for me. They’d had time to admire the view and discover a coal mine and have a rest. They were ready to make the descent.  I sighed, turned right around and rolled down the hill behind them. I forgot to mention it was raining. Not really heavy rain, just drizzle, the slow soaking kind. Just as well I had a jacket on. There were a few lollies in the pocket. Unexpected treasure on a dismal afternoon. Funny what you remember.

You won’t be surprised to hear that a few hours later, I was ready for an early night. The exercise had worn me out. I snuggled gratefully under the quilt and was soon in a deep sleep. But something wasn’t right. Something niggled at me. It wouldn’t give up until I was awake. I knew what was wrong instantly. I was in labour. “No! It’s too cold to go out. I’m far too tired to give birth,” I moaned. But it was no use. That walk up the hill had done its job. The baby was coming.

Andy grabbed my hospital bag and I grabbed the baby name book. How long can a baby remain unnamed? Perhaps we could continue our search for the perfect name once the baby was born.

Several hours later, a soft-as-down baby was placed in my arms. A girl. Somehow I knew she’d be a girl. Must have had something to do with the fact we didn’t have a girl’s name.

Or did we?

I looked at the baby and I looked at Andy. “Let’s call her Charlotte.”


It was as easy as that.

And what did my grandmother say about us choosing that’ awful name’?  I held my breath as I waited to see how she took the news. “She’s a 3rd generation Charlotte. (Or was that 4th generation, I forget.) A real family name.” My grandmother was pleased. In fact she was thrilled to hear she had a new great granddaughter bearing her own name.

So what about that family story? It was probably true. People do change their mind about things.

That all happened exactly 16 years ago. Today is my Charlotte’s birthday. She’s a lot like her great grandmother: she’s short, she has a wicked sense of humour, she knows her own mind…

“Sweet sixteen,” I say to Charlotte.

“Sweet sixteen?”

Charlotte screws up her face. She’s not interested in being sweet. Sounds dangerous. It might involve balls and boys. So far she’s doing a wonderful job of scaring the latter away with her wicked sense of humour. And that’s the way she likes it.

But she’ll change her mind. People do change their minds about things. They do it all the time.

Happy Birthday Charlotte!

Felicity, Charlotte, Imogen, Duncan and Callum


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  1. Happy Birthday, Charlotte, from the other side of the world...may God bless you today and always!

    1. Karla,

      Thank you for your greetings. Charlotte appreciated them very much! It's always lovely to connect with you here on my blog. Thank you for stopping by.

      God bless you and your family too!

  2. What a wonderful story. I love the way you write. Happy Birthday to your daughter!

    1. Kathleen,

      Thank you for your kind words. I always love exchanging comments after writing and posting a story. It's lovely of you to stop to chat. Charlotte had a wonderful birthday. We went to a local train museum and took along a picnic. She feels very special with everyone sending her greetings. Thank you for yours!

      God bless you!

  3. Happy Birthday Charlotte!!!
    I LOVE her name!

    God Bless

    1. Gemma,

      So nice to see your comment. I passed on your greeting to Charlotte. Thank you! I'm glad you like her name. It's an old name which seems to have come back into fashion. My grandmother Charlotte would have been 100 this year so you can see the name has been very popular for a long time.

      God bless!

  4. Charlotte is a beautiful name.Happy birthday to dear Charlotte.

    1. Therese,

      I am so pleased to be swapping comments with you! Thank you for your birthday greeting. Charlotte is feeling very special and loved today. I hope all is well with you and your family. Thank you also for liking my grief story on Google plus the other day. I haven't really worked out G+ properly. I'll have to try harder!

      God bless!

  5. Charlotte is on my list if we have a girl but hubby vetoed it. It is a beautiful name though. Happy birthday to Charlotte :)
    As for not having a name: We had a name chosen for our first from the time he was conceived. Except we ended up changing it after about an hour. Then for our second we have pictures of us sitting with our newborn and our list of names, trying to choose.
    Third baby due in about 6 weeks. Guess we should start a name list, shouldn't we?

    1. Tessa,

      Agreeing on a baby name can be difficult at times! Yes, I've also proposed names my husband hasn't liked. Charlotte is a pretty name but it's also become very popular which can put some people off. I am sure we chose it before everyone else discovered it! Oh well, it doesn't really matter at all.

      I like your story about how you changed your mind about your baby's name! I think it's interesting that we've never used any of the names that were on a previous baby's list. By the time another baby has come along we've moved on to new thoughts on names.

      Names are so important. We want to get them just right. No need to choose them in a hurry. I hope the perfect name for your third baby occurs to you without a problem! Six weeks? You must be getting excited. I hope you're keeping well. I'd love to know whether you have a boy or a girl and the name you choose. If you happen to read one of my posts after the birth, please stop by to share if you have time.

      God bless!

    2. I will likely write out my birth story when the baby comes and post it on my blog so I'll make a note to let you know when it's up. This pregnancy and birth is a journey of trusting God's guidance, right down to the right name!

    3. Tessa,

      You are kind! I'll watch out for your blog post. Oh yes! God knows the name of your baby and everything will work out according to His plan. I hope you able to get lots of rest over the next few weeks as you wait for your baby!

  6. Charlotte sounds like someone I would like to meet. Short with a wicked sense of humour, a girl after my own heart.

    BTW we knew Agent Smelly was going to be a girl and it still took us over a week after her birth to find a name to suit her.

    1. Lisa,

      After getting to know your sense of humour I think you and Charlotte would get on very well... not that you are wicked or anything!!

      You took a week to find a name for your baby after she was born, and you decided on the name Agent Smelly??? I would never have come up with that name, even after years of thought!!! Actually I love your girls' names. They are beautiful and unique.

  7. Happy Birthday, Charlotte! If I have the difference in time correct, Charlotte was born on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. How awesome! I love all of your children's names. Did you really roll down the hill after climbing it? Did Charlotte arrive with bumps and bruises :) Sue, you have the best stories! Love to all of you as you celebrate Charlotte's sweet sixteen! xoxox

    1. Patricia,

      You are right: Charlotte was born on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary! Awesome indeed. Her middle name is Mary.

      Of course I rolled down that hill! It was the quickest way down, and I was exactly the right shape for rolling. Charlotte didn't mind at all. She has a great sense of adventure and wouldn't have wanted to travel any other way!

      Thank you so much for sharing yet another Elvis story. My head seems to be bursting with them at the moment. Must be in a writing mood.

      Love to you too!

  8. Happy belated bitheday to my namesake. I never liked my name much, but it's growing on me after reading abut your grandma and Charlotte of the wicked humour. She sounds a bit like my daughter, who is known th toungue bash her adversaires. We have also had naming problems. Not with the first 3, but as we continued to have boys - 5 in a row - naming became a heated subject. My all time favourite (Habakuk, after the old testament prophet) was vetoed by the Writer, while I vetoed his darling (Benjamin). But in the end all children got names to suit their personalities.

    1. Uglemor/ Charlotte,

      Thank you for your birthday greetings. You have a very beautiful name! I'm glad it's growing on you.

      A wicked sense of humour can come in very handy sometimes. I am amazed at how confident Charlotte is. She's not afraid to say it as she sees it. Just a good thing she laces her words with plenty of humour! Your daughter sounds delightful too. I love people who are quick with their words.

      Five boys in a row... five boys' names, ten if they have middle names! It surprises me that they are thousands and thousands of names and we can't seem to find the perfect one for our child. But yes, our children seem to end up with the right name despite all the trouble.


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