Sunday, January 02, 2005

Stuck in the middle

Meg and I have the same middle name.

My mom has always been a proud woman and a strong woman and, commemorating her feminist outlook and her family history and the fact that we are as much her children as we are Dad's children, both of us were given her maiden name as a middle name.

For the majority of the last 22 years, I’ve hated it. Passionately. It isn’t a common name, even as a last name. It doesn’t flow off of the tongue. There’s nothing remotely feminine or quaint about it. Until I was in my late teens, I thought of my middle name as just a weird and ugly waste of ink on my birth certificate.

I remember a lunchroom conversation about middle names that I had with my friends when I was in second or third grade. The kids I was sitting with were sharing their middle names over Barbie lunchboxes. Lynn. Elizabeth. Katherine. Anna. And then it was my turn.

Uh oh. Think fast. Pretend like you didn’t hear them, keep chewing your Cheetos and...okay. It starts with an H. What’s a girl’s name that starts with an H? He...Hu...


It was probably the first time that I lied about my middle name; I’m certain that it wasn’t the last time.

I don’t know when it happened, but I eventually realized that girls with the Blah Lynn BlahBlah and the Blah Elizabeth BlahBlah names were rather strong in number. To the point of being overdone, perhaps. The rarity of my middle name made me appreciate it a little, but I still wouldn’t tell people what it was.

I grew up a bit more and figured out that being proud of your family and your heritage is noble. Still, I largely kept my middle name to myself.

With increasing maturity, I understood that naming your daughter with equal parts of her mother and her father is a gift, albeit one that grows on its recipient.

These days, I like my middle name. I like that it stands for something; I like that it was chosen for a reason other than it sounding regal nestled between my first and my last.

My middle name means a lot. Literally, though, it means mitten maker. Quite ironic, considering my inability to learn how to knit them.


Plantation said...

Oh come now! After all that build up, you're not gonna tell us? You showed us your ass for cryin' out loud.


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