Saturday, July 9, 2016

what's in a name: ellis andrew

For each of our children, we've chosen to use family names for both their first and middle names. We like the idea that, while each child's name is unique and his or her own, it also serves as a link to the past, a reminder of the many people who lived and loved and laid the path for our family today. And so, the story of Ellis Andrew.


Ellis is an old surname on the Coulter (Andrew's mom's) side. The most recent Ellis was Earl Ellis Coulter, Andrew's great grandfather. Earl Ellis lived in Chattanooga, was born in 1898, and died in 1946. We don't have lots of information about him. We know he was a firefighter, and was apparently a fire chief at the time of his death. We have heard that he may not have been the greatest husband, as it appears that his marriage was not quite intact when he died. We know that his mother was Minnie Ellis Coulter, and her father was Robertis Hamilton Ellis. While we don't know all that much about the Ellises, we know that they are an integral part of the line that led us to our Ellis, so perhaps they had adorable smiles and mischievous spirits.

Earl Ellis Coulter


Anyone who knows my Andrew knows why we chose this name. For two sons, Andrew fought against using his own name, saying that the passing down of a name was something that should be earned, something our children could do if they so chose. But on boy number three I finally won. And here's the thing--Andrew has most definitely already earned it.

Andrew Aaron Shafer is, quite simply, the most magnificent person I have ever met. He loves God, his family, his friends, and everyone he meets with a rare purity and fierceness. He gives of himself and his time so freely, never expecting a return on his investment. Serving others comes naturally to him.

Andrew is the most loving, loyal husband. He loves me in a way I could never deserve. He leads our family with grace, humility and compassion.

And as a dad, Andrew is unmatched. Andrew was made to be a dad. Our kids adore him. He is fun and playful and devoted and tender and all the things a parent should be. He is a completely equal partner in this parenting journey. He's changed at least as many diapers as me, and has me beaten by a mile in middle of the night visits to kids' rooms. Every morning, Andrew gets up and does breakfast with the little ones, and every night he wrangles them through the bath time process--it's their special daddy time, time they treasure, and time that I know fills them and molds them in an invaluable way.

Ellis already idolizes his dad, and I feel certain that he will be proud to share a name with him.

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