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Okay, let me introduce myself. You can call me Mar, pronounced-Mare-short for Maribeth. Having a long name almost guarantees it will be shortened at some point or another. Heck having a short name may guarantee the same.
I have come to love my shortened name. As a young girl my mother would cringe when hearing someone call me by anything other than my birth name. “Maribeth is such a pretty name, don’t let others ruin it,” she would say.
But I felt differently. The fact that someone shortened my name made me feel like I belonged. I found it much cooler to be called Mar than Maribeth, and I didn’t like being called Mary for any reason.
I have had other nicknames at various times in my life. I was Nini(Nee-Nee) as a child. This name was given to me by my youngest sister because she could not pronounce my birth name. So Nini I was- until about thirteen.
Once I entered my teens I branched outside of my inner community and Nini became a long ago name.
At about seventeen we welcomed my first nephew into this world. I shared a special bond with him. When he was a toddler, he couldn’t pronounce my name let alone put “Aunt” in front of it, so to him I became FA FA. I nicknamed him Chico-for what reason I can’t recall. For a good five years, maybe longer. We were known as Chico and Fa Fa. Catchy right? I thought so
Then I met my husband. His family is a fun bunch and couldn’t understand that my name was Maribeth not Mary. My husband reminded them many times but still they called me “Mary” With each “Mary” I would cringe.
Then finally, his oldest sister thougt it was funny to say”Here comes Mary Foo Foo.” From that moment his family stopped calling me Mary and started calling me Foo Foo, or an occasional Foof. I was just thankful they stopped calling me Mary.
Then when I was about twenty-five, my first born looked up at me with her round green eyes smiled and called me Mom. A name I hope will stay with me until my last day here on earth.
The funny thing is- I think each name that was chosen for me brought out a different characteristic that may have not come out without the name.
As Mar, I felt cool, like one of the gang-maybe even tough. As Nini- I felt young, likeable, noteable, rememberable.
As Fa-Fa I felt like the cool aunt. We shared a bond that was created by the name he chose for me.
As Foo Foo, I felt liked by a family other than my own.
The older I get, I learn to embrace the name Mary. It’s not so bad, it’s actually a beautiful name, but one I had to grow into.
So whether I’m Maribeth-Mar-Nini-FaFa-Foo Foo, Foof, Mary or Mom-most importantly I am me. Thanks to others their nicknames have helped me know myself a little better and made my life a bit more colorful.