“Never think you’ve seen the last of anything.” —Eudora Welty
When I wrote part one of this series, I didn’t realize it was part one. I didn’t realize there was anything else to say or that it would evolve into a series. And I suppose that’s par for the course with me.
But part two of this series is focused on my middle name, Jane. The extreme affection I feel for it recently hit me. I’ve always had a soft spot for my middle name for several reasons. First and foremost, in my family your middle name is the one that holds meaning. My older brother’s middle name is my father’s first, Jacob Russell. My father’s middle name was his father’s first, Russell Delus. And my younger brother is named in the same fashion after our uncle, Lucas Michael. My middle name is something I am so proud to share with this lovely lady, my momma.
When I was younger, I was less than thrilled about my first name. I think every kid goes through a phase when they wish they could have talked some sense into their parents. And when you share a name with seemingly every girl within a 12 block radius, you’d give everything to be called anything else. Throughout elementary, junior high, and high school, I was typically Sara(h) #4 of 10.
Luckily I caught a break in college, and to this day there isn’t another Sara(h) with whom I, or anyone particularly close to me, interacts with on a daily basis.
But even now, I don’t feel all that attached to Sarah. Other than my best friend’s rendition of Starship’s 1986 hit (coincidentally my birth year) and the few nicknames that are hardly used anymore, I’m not sure if there’s anything I’d miss if I lost it for some reason.
And maybe that’s part of it. Bearing entrance into the witness protection program, I don’t foresee any reason I would ever lose it. I’m not usually the kind of person who doesn’t appreciate what they have until it’s gone, but I have to say, I didn’t feel overly-attached to my last name until I got married and agreed to change it.
And that’s probably also the source of my newfound affection for Jane. Now that I’ve changed my last name, it helps me feel connected to my family. I’ve always debated whether I would want to pass it along to a daughter, might I have one, and this revelation puts that conundrum in a whole new light.
Shakespeare asked “What’s in a name?” I like being on the same wave length as Shakespeare, even if it is for more personal and vain reasons than he was speculating about.
- Sarah Jane and Laura Jane, circa 2005.