My entire life….I’ve been called by many, many names…….beginning nearly at birth.  When I was born, my Sicilian Gramps had trouble pronouncing “Danielle” and so he quickly changed my name to Dee…and it stuck!  The entire family has called me this my entire life.  I don’t even think any of them have EVER called me Danielle.  By extension, friends heard my family refer to me as Dee and have always called me that too.  I’ve ALWAYS been Dee to anyone that I know and love.  In fact, an old co-worker (and someone I completely DETESTED) once heard a friend/co-worker call me Dee.  And then he was brazen enough to try it himself.  I let him know, in no uncertain terms, that “Dee” is reserved specifically for friends and family….and that he was NEITHER of those two things, and therefore should call me Danielle.  BOOM!!  End of conversation!

Over the years, it was easy to see that my younger sister was far more outgoing and extroverted than I.  Since I was shy and very withdrawn socially, she became the superstar amongst friends and I was simply known as “Jen’s sister”.  And since she and I had were very close in age and had, essentially, the same group of friends, it was always “See if Jen and her sister want to come over”.

As I grew older, I started dating my boyfriend (now AKA the Dick).  He was super popular…..a football player……awesome student….outgoing and well liked by peers and teachers alike.   Many of the things I wasn’t.  (hmmmm…..just wondering here…..why hadn’t he and my sister dated??  Dare I ask them about that??)  When he and I were together, I was dubiously honored as “Jeff’s girlfriend”.   When we weren’t walking side by side, sweaty hands clasped together, down the hallways of our high school, I was completely invisible.  His friends were always very nice to me certainly….but when he wasn’t there, it was really like I wasn’t either…..as if they didn’t know what to make of me without my better half.  He graduated a year before I did.  And while I was completely petrified at the idea of a full year in a giant school alone without him, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Whereas before I had spent so much of my time with HIM and HIS FRIENDS….and subsequently forgot to have a life…and friends…of MY OWN.  That year, while he was away at college making even more friends and still playing football, I found my own little niche in this world and bloomed a bit.  I still didn’t really know who I was, and found myself wandering back to my overly popular sister and her friends, back to the safety of having plans and “friends” of my own.  I finally went to parties and did the whole under-age drinking thing.  I flirted with other boys.  I began to find my own inner voice.

The Dick and I got married and once again my name was changed….although much more officially now.  I went from being a daughter and a sister to being mostly a wife.  And with the Dick on the police force at this time, I was now “Bare’s wife” (cops’ rarely ever use one another’s first names….so you can forget the hope that they will ever use yours either).  Although, by this time I had found my place in the world and discovered that I really didn’t give a shit if anyone knew my name specifically.  Because, by this time, I had scads of friends who knew ME as ME.  So the idea of a few people not bothering to specifically inquire to my ACTUAL name was no longer something that even registered on my radar.

Still, there are times when I get a friend request on facebook asking “Heeeeeyyyyy!!!  Aren’t you Jen’s sister”.  Or “Hey, you went from Bare’s girlfriend to Bare’s wife…that’s awesome”.  Sometimes, when I’m feeling NOT very pissy and evil, I will just respond with the perfunctory greeting of hello.  Other days……when I’m particularly stabby-feeling and irritated, I will say “Why YES so and so…..however, I DO have an ACTUAL name….so how ya been”.  I don’t always mean to come off so…..well, MEAN!  But it quickly became one of my biggest pet peeves to know that people lumped my identity in with another person’s with so very little thought or consideration for me having MY VERY OWN identity.

But you know how they say that what was once a dreaded curse will, in time, reveal itself as a blessing??  Lo and behold,  I’ve discovered that I take great pride and joy in being known simply as “Nick’s mom” or “Joshua’s mom”.  When the kids run out of school at the end of the day and toss a “Hey Nick’s mom” in my general direction, my heart swells with remarkable delight.  When I join the circle of parents at Joshua’s speech therapy each week, I get a kick out of my fellow parents trying desperately (and in vain) to retain vivid recall of each and every person’s name…..and to not get busted having forgotten.  Do they NOT KNOW that it’s so much simpler to just simply say “Hey Mary’s Mom and Edward’s Dad…..how was your weekend?”  I have never felt offended when they refer to me as “Nick and/or Joshua’s mom”.   Sometimes, I even introduce myself as such.   I toughed it out through 9 months of being knocked up and having a doctor slice me open, twice, to retrieve my stubborn children.  So if the worst that results from that is (technically) losing my precious identity once again….well….I’m completely ok with that.

Because, to be totally honest…..”Nick’s mom” and “Joshua’s mom” are ultimately two of my very favorite names to be called!

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