Monday, March 15, 2010

Whats In A Name?

Baby Blues is one of my favorite comic strips and one in particular has been hanging on our fridge since October 23, 2005. It shows Zoe and her mom (Wanda) walking home. In the first frame two of Zoe's friends are running by while one shouts "hi Zoe, hi Zoe's mom!" In the second frame as Zoe and her mom walks by two of her classmates one of them says to the other, "there goes Zoe and Zoe's mom". In the third frame three kids on the playground shout out "Hi Zoe's mom", "hi Zoe's mom", and once again "hi Zoe's mom". In the fourth and final frame Zoe looks up at her mom and says "Isn't it GREAT when everybody knows your name?"

Well, Zoe's mom, I know the feeling.

My parents put a lot of thought into my name. When I was born my parents wanted something original. They decided to name me after my dad. Not many girls can actually say that they are named after their dad. I like the fact that I am named after my dad, its unusual but really cool.

When I would tell people that I was named after my dad, people's first reaction would be to say "oh its too bad he didn't have a son". Let me make this clear, he did, my older brother is named after both our grandfathers.

Besides the name on my birth certificate I have several family nicknames that have been given to me over the years. Most family nicknames have been given through familiarity, love, and usually some silly circumstance. All have a story (no I'm not going to share) and most thankfully, I have outgrown.

Also when I was little I was "Kenny's little sister", but since there are several years difference in our ages by the time I was in Jr. High and High School I was back to being referred to by my own name again.

Other people who don't know me well, have also taken to shortening my name. I am not sure where that came from but it happens. It does seem rather odd though when someone who is not a close personal friend takes the liberty to assume that they know me well enough to shorten my name.

When I had my daughter, I got another name, I became "the kid's mom". The new name didn't really bother me. Unlike some of the names that my brother bestowed upon me in my youth, "mom" was a title that I wore proudly.

As I have gotten older and my daughter's friends have gotten comfortable using my first name I once again thought I had my name back. Until the other day.

The other day another adult actually introduced me as "The Episcopal Priest's Wife"! Now I will admit that is a new one, I guess that will be just one more name for my book.

So why is it that when a kid gives you a title like "the kid's mom" its not so bad? But when you are given the title by an adult such as "the husband's wife" it feels like a loss of identity? After all they both are really part of who I am. In fact "beloved wife and mother" is quite a compliment on a tombstone. It says a lot about the person who is buried there.

However, I am still very much alive and I think I would still like to be introduced by my name or at the very least, "this is the Episcopal priest's wife, The Lovely Wife".

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