My name did come easy....
I am named after my father who was born in Kapuskasing, Ontario to French-Canadian parents. He was given the name Aurel and in English he goes by, Harold.
My mother wanted to name one of their children after him, something that isn't uncommon and usually falls on the shoulders of the firstborn. My mother in all of her wisdom had decided that if she had a girl she would call her Haroldine - just like other little girls who were affectionately known as Jeraldine, named after their father, Jerald. But, in 1957 when my sister was born, my father refused to go along with this outlandish idea. He flat out said, "NO."
Six years later another daughter arrived and the answer remained the same. Two children and no namesake. Have no fear though - eighteen months later another daughter was born. My mother went ahead and filled out the paperwork for my birth certificate and penned Haroldine in as my middle name. A compromise - Vickie Haroldine is my name - a name that I learned to appreciate over time.
Growing up, I dared not share such an odd middle name with other kids. It seemed to me that my friends all had normal middle names, prettier names and ones that sometimes were actually two used as one, like my cousins, Barbara Louise, and Carry Anne.
Whenever my friends asked what my middle name was, I pretended that I didn't have one or I thought of something that I thought went well together. Eg: Vickie Lynn. And to add fuel to the fire, my mother threw an (ie) on the end of Vickie and did not name me Victoria. I was born with a 'nickname.'
It was dreadful for me to have to continually tell people, "Vickie is my given name and then have to actually spell it for them to boot. What was my mother thinking?
I learned to smile when I got a response such as,
"Oh... like the Miss Vickie chips!"
"Those chips are so good. Have you tried them?" An office clerk once asked me.
"Oh... silly me, you must have." She said. "Everyone has."
"No I haven't, but I'm sure the are quite tasty." I clucked back, wondering if I was supposed to feel honoured that my name is sprawled across a bag of chips.
It really wasn't until I was a student in a writing class in 2012 where I came to treasure my name. A fellow classmate's story suddenly pierced my heart without him even knowing it. He shared how his name was a "precious gift" from his mother. He recalled how his mother knew exactly what she was going to name him if God would give her a son. Wow! I couldn't help but hang on every word as he wiped away the tears from his eyes.
Was it a gift for my father or for me? I'm not sure why my mother was so relentless in naming one of her children Haroldine. But, what I do know is that my name doesn't need to be popular or famous. It doesn't need to define who I am, my personality or even make me feel accepted by others. It just needs to be appreciated as the gift it truly is - a name given with love from my parents.
And most important --- is that God knows my name...
Isaiah 43:1 "Fear not, for I have called you by name; I have summoned you by name; you are mine"