Will You Remember Me?

January 25, 2011 at 7:33 am | Posted in Friends Then and Now | 8 Comments
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A few months ago, I was walking through a local grocery store in my Sunday best (read — pajamas) picking up my food for the week.  Not surprisingly, it was pretty crowded, but somehow, in the craziness, I ran into someone I knew, or rather, someone who knew me.  Someone I probably should have known, but for some reason couldn’t place him right away.

Why didn’t I recognize this person?  Did he really look that different… seven years ago?  No, no, he didn’t…. did he?  I really don’t know.

This really bothered me.  One of the traits I take pride in is my ability to remember everybody, their middle name, their birthday, their address, and their mother’s name.  I am the person who says to my best friend from high school, “remember so and so?” and she just doesn’t remember anybody so her answer is typically no.

So what does this all mean?  Am I going to start forgetting people I knew all my life?  Am I going to lose the capacity to remember the names of people I meet?  Or even worse… what does this mean for those who know me?  Will they forget I exist?  Will they remember me?

It’s part of the human condition to want to be remembered, want to know you had an impact on somebody.  That’s why we have graves.  That’s why we name our children after family members. That’s why people strive to be famous (or infamous). That’s why writers want to be published (wink).

But you can’t guarantee that everyone will remember you.   Some faces will fall through the cracks, even if you did hang out with them a bunch of times. And sometimes, it will just take a little bit longer to remember some people, as your brain continues to take in images of the new people entering your life.  And sometimes, you’ll need to count on your friends to jog your memory.

That said, I really hope I’ve had an impact on a lot of people’s lives because a lot of people have had impacts on mine, and I plan to remember a lot of people.

Embracing Your Name

January 20, 2011 at 7:34 am | Posted in Family Ties, Life and Living | 12 Comments
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photo credit: exponentialprograms.com

I don’t know if there is something in the air or what, but I can name five women I know who are currently pregnant… and another two who just had babies… and several others who became moms in the past few years.  It’s just that stage in my life I guess.  Whatever it is, there is always several initial questions on the minds of the friends of the pregnant — one being what the child will be named. And with my first nephew just a couple of short months away from entering the world, I can’t wait to find out what we will call him!

Ever since I was a little girl, I have had a bit of an obsession with names.  I have a name book that interprets names that I used to create characters in my early short stories.  Like any writer, the characters are typically based on someone you know, but you don’t want to simply use that person, so you come up with a similar persona and a name to match.  I cast myself as “Molly” in my short stories.  I’m not quite sure why.  I think of Molly’s as sort of shy, deep thinkers, hidden beauties.  I am definitely not shy, though I do think of myself as a deep thinker.  Perhaps I just always felt like I was waiting for someone to discover something great in me, and this is the way it manifested.  Who knows? I was like, 13.

Whatever my thought process, the idea is the same when you name your child.  You are creating the character you hope your child will be.  The only difference is that this is a real person who has to make that name work for them for their whole lives.

I always liked my name.  There weren’t a lot of Dana’s in my school so I was able to feel fairly unique growing up, which was important to me.  I did not really like my middle name.  To me, Blair sounded very old.  It took me a long time to grow into that name.

We live in a time where people are becoming very… unique with their name choices.  As someone who is all for unique I am surprisingly not likely to follow this trend when I enter into mommyhood.  A person needs to be able to live with their name, and be able to make it their own.  Kids will always make fun of each other and giving a kid a tough name can make them an easy target.  I feel like there are so many beautiful names that have deep roots in history, names that aren’t always thought of and in that way can become unique.

But it’s all up to the parents to make that major decision about how their children will be first presented to the world, what every first impression they will make will be like.  And all parents want something different for their children.  I think the most important idea overall is to have a name that you can make your own.  Your name becomes part of your identity so you need to embrace your name to embrace your identity and come into your own.

You Can’t Live in a Bubble

January 11, 2011 at 7:32 am | Posted in Family Ties, Life and Living | 12 Comments
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A few weeks ago, on Christmas Eve in fact, my dog was playing ball in our yard.  My boy is a Labrador retriever who literally lives for ball.  Where ever he is, you are likely to find a tennis ball not too far away.  When he plays, he puts his all into it, making very dramatic catches that rival any outfielder.  So when we threw the ball to him on this day, and it rolled into a pipe that protrudes out of the grass, it’s not surprising that he went at it like he was in a race against time.  Unfortunately, it was not a happy meeting of pipe and dog face.  The dog was left with a cracked and bleeding canine tooth, and the pipe (believe it or not) has a nice scrape on it forever marking this day.

This is not the first time my boy has gotten hurt, and like any parent of human or animal kin can tell you, it kills you when your child is hurt.  With dogs, it’s even harder because they don’t understand why it hurts and they don’t complain.  They just try to keep going as if nothing ever happened.  But it’s very obvious when your boy can’t even pick up the ball that he so adores.

This dog has been through a lot.  He’s been bitten twice by other dogs, slammed into many walls, fallen off the bed when he least expected it.  He’s become less submissive when dogs approach him and start bothering him, but when he hears other dogs barking in their yards as we walk by, his fur still stands up in fear.

When we finally got him to the doctor (bad timing for an accident with the holidays), we learned that he would have to get the tooth removed.  The doctor said that this particular tooth was designed specifically to kill game on a hunt, and clearly my dog would never have to work that hard.  His response to our rant about how this dog is always getting into something — “You can’t live in a bubble.”

This is a hard fact for any parent to take in.  Aren’t parents’ jobs to protect their young?  So in terms of my boy, I will continue to try to protect him as best I can.  But I took this lesson to heart for myself.  You can’t be afraid to do things that you love, or that seem fun.  I continue to fight my fears of doing things I’ve never done before, and probably will for the rest of my life — not so much for fear of getting physically hurt, but for fear of getting emotionally hurt through humiliation.

Dogs don’t get humiliated.  They get happy, tired, jealous, excited, angry, and sad, with happy being the default emotion.  But they do get hurt.  We all get hurt, sometimes.  If we could all go on with the same attitude as my boy and keep on chugging along, doing our best to do the things we love, we will all live happier lives.

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