When Name-Calling Becomes a Thing

My name being unique always made things complicated for me when I was a little girl. People struggled when remembering how to say it, they struggled with saying it at all, and I just wanted to be normal, like the other little girls in class who had names like “Tina” and “Leah” and then there was “Summer Rose”.

One day I came home informing everyone that I will be referred to as “Summer Rose” from now on, and I will not answer to anything but.

I must have been like five at the time, because I remember going to my great-grandmother’s funeral and sitting in the hard pews, looking around, dazed and confused as to why Grandmother would ever leave us. (Apparently when Nanny, my paternal grandmother–Grandmother’s daughter-in-law, tried explaining the circumstances around Grandmother’s death to me, I didn’t take it very well. Grandmother had been very sick so logically Nanny explained that Grandmother wanted to go. “She wanted to leave us!?” my little heart broke.)

With the opportunity of seeing so many members of my family, I made sure to reintroduce myself, but this time as Summer Rose, emphatically suggesting that I will not even so much as turn my head if another name was used.

My Uncle Richard, tickled by my assertiveness, still calls me Summer Rose to this day.

Imagine my surprise as I am drinking coffee in the backyard this morning, incidental to my children’s games of pretend–

“My name’s Summer Breeze!!!” Rori said as she ran toward me. “I will be called Summer Breeze forever.”

That my coffee didn’t burst through my nose at the news can be attributed to the practice I’ve had “going with the flow”.  I will take it as confirmation that I am slowly mastering my reactions to the suddenty of life, no matter how hilarious or absurd (in this case, hilarious).

“Summer Breeze?” my eyebrows raised while trying to maintain the most affirming facial expression a mother can hold.

“Yes!” she ascertained.

For a moment we stood mirroring each other: she, an embodied facet of Life’s newness, and I, the worn counterpart.

Her answer seemed sufficient– punctuated with her sparkling eyes, and brilliant smile–simple, yet underscoring the name’s incumbence in its own right. After all, what more was there to explain?

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