What’s in a Name?

My name is many things. It is my mother and my father. It is my mother’s mother, my father’s mother and my father’s father. It is the name written on my birth certificate after I emerged from my mother’s body 23 years ago. From my mother’s side, I have inherited my first name. From my father’s side, I have inherited my name in between. My last name belongs to my father and his father before him. I share my maternal grandmother’s first name. But we are not the same. She is Katherine and I am Kathryn. She is Kathy and I am Katie. To those I knew in High School, I was Kato and just when I think that name has been forgotten, I see it again in a text or when my name is called by someone I haven’t seen for a while.  At home I am many names. Shortened versions of my already shortened nickname or something taken out of thin air. In times of trouble I am my birth name and my middle name rolled into one raised voice.

I wonder what it will be like to give up my maiden name if I ever marry. With a different name, will I be a different person? Will I respond to “love”, “darling”, “honey” or “Moon of my Life”? If I call him “hon”, “darling”, or “my Sun and Stars”, will I change him? If I ever have children, will I eventually learn how to become “mother”, “mom”, or “momma”? Will I name them the way my parents named me? Will I call them “son”, “daughter”, “child”, or “sweetheart”?

I am named daughter, sister, grandchild. Niece, cousin, friend. One day I might be spouse, mother, aunt, grandmother. 10 years from now, 15 years from now, 30 years from now. Will I still be the same person I was that day I emerged from my mother’s body? Will I have too many names to keep track of or will I have too many names that I miss? Will there be names I wish I heard on the lips of another but will never come to be?

Will I still be me?


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18 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. What a wonderful history on your name. From my experience, adapting to my married name came quicker than I expected. Then again, we had been dating for years, and I always combined my first name with his last (secretly in doodles, of course!). Looking back, my married name just seems more “me” than my maiden one. Maybe it’s because I had some part of picking it out. 🙂 Wonderful piece!

  2. Very powerful and somewhat thought provoking we are given a label even as we enter into existence so at what point do we create our own name. Enjoyed this.

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