Published August 3, 2014 | By Greg Hodgson-Fopp
This name was actually added to our short-list by Matt. I’m not entirely sure where he heard it, but I suspect it might be one of his nonsense Television shows that he fills his downtime with, as that’s certainly where he got the other names he suggested. I tried googling for a match and didn’t find one, so I’m still not sure where it first came into his head.
I like the name, it’s quite obvious origin is biblical – the parable of Samson and Delilah. It was a very popular name during the puritan era (so the same era as Verity) because despite the heretical nature of her actions she was seen as a role-model of strength and intelligence for women in a time when there really wasn’t such a role model anywhere else. The parable shows her exhibiting cunning and using her charms in a very clever way to achieve her ends. I quite like the fact that this has tones of anti-hero or villianess about it.
It also meets the other criteria – it’s not too uncommon, but also not too common. We certainly don’t know any Delilahs. It’s easily shortened for Australians, and can become Del, Lila, Lil, Lily. All very easy single syllable nicknames and I’m sure time will tell which our little one ends up with.
In terms of history, it’s pretty much old testament and that’s as old as names get in our recorded history I think. So it’s certainly not new or a fad.
I think I became completely sold on the name because of a song reference. You’ll know the song – it was pretty much overplayed to death over the last few years, though it was actually released in 2006. The band is the Plain White T’s, and the song is called “Hey There, Delilah”. It was actually nominated for a whole bunch of awards, and was Song of the Year in at least one of them.
There’s an emotion in the song, a powerful sense of what the singer is feeling for Delilah as he talks about how far apart they are, how a thousand miles separates them but he’ll find a train, a plane or a car, or he’ll walk if he has no other way. He’s also talking about making a better future – how one day he’ll pay the bills with this guitar and how they won’t have to be apart anymore.
The lyrics always resonated with me, because the period I was listening to it was a time when Matt was spending a lot of time in Australia, working. Although we were married and had each other and seemingly had everything in the world that we wanted, I was pretty lonely when Matt was away, which was a lot. The song manages to capture that emotion almost perfectly with it’s lilting lyrics. I can remember playing it on repeat in an empty house, listening to it and waiting for Matt to wake up so I could call him to say Good morning before I was able to go to sleep.
There are a few songs that manage to capture love so well as this, in my opinion.
Ultimately, because of this song, and because it captures the love that I have for Matt, and our hopes for a better future, I thought it was a really good choice for one of our little girls.
I wrote at length about the connections of the name Anne to both our families when writing about Verity here.
One thing I suppose it’s worth mentioning that I didn’t mention in the first post – we’re quite happy that the two girls will share a name as well. They will share so much (starting with a bedroom!) over their lifetimes that it feels appropriate that they also have a name in common. Any way we can draw the inference of closeness between them, we will do so.
The final name in the chain for Delilah is Catherine. This name belongs to someone who both Matt and I knew and loved, his maternal grandmother known more usually by the short-name Rena. I simply don’t have the words to capture her entire life here in a post about a name, but she was an incredible woman, like so many of the Greatest Generation. With Matt’s other Grandmother Evelyn, Nanna Rena gave Matt a template for unconditional love that has left his with some of the warmest memories of his childhood and adulthood.
I was proud to have known her, she and Bill always made me feel incredibly welcome in their house, as they did for everyone who visited, I suspect! She was sharp-witted and a pleasure to be around, and had a long family-focused life in Adelaide after making her wild choices as a youth.
I can’t imagine it was easy for her, in the early years in Adelaide, raising children so far from the usual support networks of family. Moving to Australia was a permanent decision in the 1950′s. Not at all like the choices that Matt and I make now, where we can get back to Adelaide (or now Sydney) without hassle and for cost that isn’t earth-shattering. When she and Bill made the choice to emigrate (similar to my Grandparents and parents), it was for years.
I also think the lack of communication technology made the distance bigger. I can phone home to Australia every day if I want, and currently have a ritual of a nice long hour on Skype every other weekend or thereabouts. It allows me to see my Mum & Dad and brother, and get the fix I need to make sure the family connections remain the same.
It’s hard to imagine the kind of bravery it took to step away from every friend you ever made and travel to the other side of the world with your partner to start a new life. But that’s a trait we’d love to see in our Delilah.
So that’s the names. I’ve written these posts in advance of the birth, as I suspect I won’t have as much time on my hands immediately after they’re born as I think I will. At least now I can give you the explanations as soon as the little ones are born.
I hope you all get to meet them soon!