May 18, 2023

When your real name just doesn’t suffice.

I was just reading something the other day that reminded me of a story involving Mattea and her creativity.  When Mattea was almost four, she decided that she no longer liked her name and wanted to change it and we “unofficially” let her.  After all, we thought it would just be a “family” thing and she’d switch back to her normal identity whenever we took her out.

Around this time, Mattea had been invited to a birthday party that was being held at a local gym.  She was so excited to go to her first “big girl” party and made me sit and watch her as she hung out with the big kids.  When it was time for the tumbling the start, one of the gym leaders circled the kids up and then asked each of them for their names.  I was chatting with other moms during this, not really paying attention.  After all, she was doing the big kid thing and I needed to give her some space.

When they got to Mattea, I evidently wasn’t paying attention because she supplied them with the name, “Shalimar Keisha.”  She had previously created this name by using her Great Aunt’s horse and her favorite Barbie doll.  She thought it sounded worldly and exotic and I was just happy that she had finally stopped griping about her name.

Every once and awhile, I’d look over to see big grins and giggles coming from her as she was truly enjoying her time doing awkward somersaults and crabwalks.  I’d also occasionally hear snickers from the other parents but I thought that they were just enjoying the free show that the kids were putting on.

But then I heard it.  One of the instructors called, “Shalimar Keisha!  Let’s line up over here now!”

Oh…my… gawd… that’s my kid but that’s not her name.  I looked at Mattea as she happily ran over to the instructor and did as she was told.  She casually looked back at me and gave me a little wave and a big smile.

For the rest of the class, she was Shalimar Keisha.  I did eventually fill in the instructor on the story behind the name but ultimately, I think everyone got a kick out of it.  I reminded Mattea of this name when we were recently trying to name one of our cats.  She was like, “Mommm, puhleazzee!  What sorta name is that?!”  I then reminded her it was a Mattea sorta name and a good one at that.

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