You’re only six pounds, freshly born amongst sunbeams on a sunny summer day. You’re only hours old, and yet, you already have a story, because you have a name.
Like me, a cherished family member stakes claim to your namesake, like me, right in your name’s middle.
And as I sit here reminiscing about your birth as your parents introduce themselves to you at long last, I already wonder about your life that lies ahead, and wonder how your given name will carry weight for you. I wonder how your namesake will captivate you, as mine has me.
Growing up, I was the one with the pop singer first name and the old lady second. People knew the first name well, but not me, actually. Sure, I can belt out the hits too, but she has so little to do with any piece of whom I identify with.
Because to me, my pride lies in my middle. My great aunt Laurine (pronounced Lor-een) has a face, and she’s here again, each and every time I write her name out. Each and every time I speak her back into mortal existence.
Every time that happens, I see her, flashes in my memory and so she’s never really passed.
And I do wonder, sweet baby, if this experience will happen for you too, years down the road.
Because for me, my middle name brings about imagery of her wrinkled hands. It brings about her weathered but bright face, perm taut, as I saw it for the very last time in a cloud, on that mysterious drive just days after her death. She was there for me then, as she is now when I write her seven letter name inside of mine.
Laurine. She was red cardinals, the smell of mothballs in the toy closet, and Swiss Knight cheese at lunch. Laurine was playing country music, CMT, morning, noon and night.
Laurine’s front stoop faced my elementary school, and she used to catch me there hiding, afraid to enter school and welcome me inside.
Laurine is a grey Ford Tempo with velvet seats.
My name is my memory, and my memory contains hers, and so I carry her spirit with me. With that, I am a piece of her, and she, a piece of me.
We are connected.
She wore ironed dresses and skirts, and she cut off the crusts.
She laughed. She took us up on spontaneous car rides down south. She dedicated her life to her family, saying once that she had been an undiscovered treasure, never married, never tied down.
My name represents class. My name boasts independence. My name is my great aunt, but my name is me.
I have a name, and it has a story, one I am proud to call mine.
Some day soon, little baby, may you come to know yours.