Friday, June 19, 2009

My Daughter, Francine (Or the Lolly/Laurel Complex)

Sorry if this post is long, boring, and self-indulgent.

Many people, throughout my life, have been confused about my name and what they should call me. Should they call me Lolly or Laurel? And if it is Laurel, is it pronounced "LOR-EL" Or "LAWR-EL"? I get asked these questions frequently. Here are the facts:

My dad knew a girl name Lolly growing up. She was, apparently, a very nice girl and he really liked the name. My mom was wise, however, and thought that I might not want to be "Lolly" my whole life. Her doctor actually told her he knew someone name Lolly whose real name was Laurel. I suppose my parents thought it was an okay name so they went with it. Growing up, though, I was only called Lolly.

When Kindergarten came, I decided it was time for me to be sophisticated and shed childish things--like my name. I was going to be Laurel. Upon entering my classroom for the first time, though, I realized with horror that I had only practiced spelling "Lolly". So, because I couldn't spell "Laurel," I chickened out. By the time first grade and my ability to spell Laurel came around, I was already known as Lolly to all of my school friends. So, I went with it. Lolly I remained through all of elementary school.

When I went to junior high, I decided it was definitely Laurel-time. I was tired of having a weird name and I was more tired of hearing that stupid Lollipop song. So, in my melodramatic journal that first day of junior high--after having introduced myself as "Laurel" in all of my classes, I remember signing off with "Laurel: new name, new life!" Unfortunately, the confusion was only beginning. I started being asked how I pronounce "Laurel." The truth was that I, myself, didn't even know. I asked my mom and she said it was "LAWR-EL." (Since then though, I have been told that is a very Utah way to say it, but hey, I was born and raised in Utah, so whatever. Josh prefers "LOR-EL". Sorry, Mom. To be honest, I don't even notice the difference or care.) Anyway, because my family called me Lolly, and my old friends called me Lolly, and people who came close to my family called me Lolly, I had a little difficulty shedding the name Lolly.

We moved to Oregon when I was in high school, and I saw this as the perfect opportunity. I was yet again, determined to be Laurel. But, dang, my family could not get the hang of it. My mom would introduce me to people in the ward, "This is my daughter, Lol---Laurel." It looked like she didn't even know my name! It was just weird to hear them call me Laurel anyway. I didn't like it. I was their Lolly. So, yeah, the confusion continued.

Cut to me being a 30 year old. I am STILL in a ward with my parents, thus the Lolly/Laurel confusion persists. Lolly is kind of a weird name, but it's mine, and I love it. And the truth is, I don't really care what people call me (unless it's some rude, jerky name like Nast-kitten.) (Should I be ashamed that part of me actually kind of likes the name Nast-kitten, which I created? I am crazy.) Anyway, I have realized that the reason I don't have name preferences is because I come from a family that is HUGE into nicknames. The truth is, we rarely call each other real names anyway.

Case in point: Olivia. Anna couldn't say Olivia, so she called her Viva from the start. From there, Viva mutated into "Vive La France" which turned into "La France" which turned into "France" which turned into "Francy" which turned into "Francine." That is her current nickname. Francine. Now, no offense to the Francines out there, but Francine is definitely not my favorite name. Yet, I call her that in public frequently. Yes, people think my daughter's name is actually Francine. That kind of horrifies me, but not enough to change it.

You would think that after all that I've gone through with the hassle of my nickname, I would avoid such things with my children. Um, no. Sorry, Francine, but I, like my mom, will call you the name that comes to my heart. (And for the record, I do call Josh "Tony." But that's a story for a different post...)