Saturday, February 4, 2012

What's in a name?


I’m a nickname giver. It doesn’t matter if you are my friend, my child, or my pet - if we spend a good deal of time together, chances are that I’ll give you a nickname – a term of endearment, if you will. I’m big on shortening longer names, so if you are Jessica I’ll make you Jess. Samantha? Sam. Alison? Al. Deborah? Deb.

From the time Carrie was a little girl she had nicknames. The first one bestowed upon her was “Carebear” which was fairly effortless. Care Bears were all the rage in 1988 when she was born, and if I shortened her to “Care” it was just as easy to add -bear. {For the record, she hates to be called “Care.”} When she was a toddler I avoided ever using the word “brat” {which she really wasn’t} and instead would say, “Don’t be a goober” if she was misbehaving. “Goober” morphed into “Goovna” or “my goov” because…well…who knows why?!?! There are a few other random nicknames I still use for my girl C, but I’ll spare you the reading time, and her the embarrassment.

During the time that Carrie was in junior high school, I was a single mom and it was just her and me on our own. I like to think I was a “cool mom” – keeping up with all the current lingo and catch phrases while still maintaining a sense of authority. {eh hm…yeah…} She was about 11 years old at the time, and we were messing around when I called her “Girl-friend...” She responded with “Mom-friend…” and it stuck.

It stuck to the point that some of her own friends called me “Mom-friend” including her boyfriend in high school {who I still secretly wish she’d marry}. In hindsight, I think it was more comfortable for her friends to call me “Mom-friend” than to refer to me “Mrs. _____” {because I wasn’t anymore} or by my first name which sometimes felt too familiar or disrespectful.

I suppose when we make new acquaintances and they hear my daughter call me Mom-friend it’s a bit of a surprise, but for us it’s normal. If we’re out somewhere and I hear a random young person call out, “Mom…” I never flinch - I know it’s not my kid.

My kid learned the art of nicknaming people she loves.
And she learned that from me.


I’m linking to Sian for Storytelling Sunday today.
Check out her blog for links to other stories to read on this fine Sunday.

35 comments:

Carrie Rosalind said...

Oh my gosh, this post is perfect in every way! I totally cracked up and also got kind of choked up.

Last night when I got a text from your number that said, "Hi Carrie," I knew someone else had your phone because you never call me just Carrie. So my response was, "Hi mom?" with a question mark, because I never call you just mom either. Turns out Pres texted me from your phone. ;)

Also, a whole 'nother blog post could be done on the nicknames you've given pets.

Love you and your awesome nickname-giving abilities! xoxo

PS: THANK YOU for telling the world that I hate to be called "Care." And kind of embarrassing that you told the world you call me "Goovna" and that you did a shout-out to my high-school boyfriend. ;)

Amy said...

Nicknames are huge here in Australia, and they are not always for shortening names either .. commonly we like to turn everyone into a -y/ie as in Debb-ie or Doug-y ... that sort of thing. It is also common for redheads to be known as Bluey.

Karen said...

Love this post and it has reminded me of all the names we have for Gracia - I am now going to have to make something craft-wise to celebrate them.

Thank you for the prompt.

helena said...

love to hear the story behind nicknames. we had evolving nicknames when I was growing up too - I must record them

Jane said...

what a lovely story and I had to chuckle over your first comment!!

alexa said...

How lovely! That's a great name for a mum who is both ...

furrypig said...

I am soooo bad at making up names sometimes I just do it on the spur of the moment and speak out loud before thinking..... not always a wise move! I called DD 'baby fallopian tube'....why??? She got her own back by posting on facebook about it...I did it once in private and learnt my lesson...... I think!!! i make up names for the cat too, in fact we made up a completely different name and story about him .... you are not alone! xxx

Ruth said...

How lovely to hear about the story of Carrie's nickname!

Chipper said...

Hehehe. Gotta love nicknames. Like a previous comment said Australians do love to at Y, but they also shorten names and add an O. Such as David which turns into Davo. I deliberately gave my boys both names that couldn't be shortened so instead they both got lengthened!

Rhona said...

I've never been much of a nick name giver and tried to choose names that wouldn't be shortened for my kids. However, the closest I got was calling Claire "Madam Moo" because she loved her bottles of milk. When Emily came along she became "Madam Moo no. 2" for the same reason. Claire's friends at Primary School nicknamed her Care Bear lol!
xx

Mary B said...

what a lovely way to address your mother and for her friends to address you too. I got called Mrs B by my son's friends which was a sort of endearment better by far than my full name and more respectful than using my Christian name

debs14 said...

What a great post! For some strange reason, my sister used to call her son (real name Matthew) Billy Lims. She had to totally rethink it when it came time for him to go to school as he answered to Billy Lims more than he did Matthew!
I love Carrie's reaction to your comment about her ex - Classic!

heart.hearth.home. said...

It's lovely that you are mum-friend and girlfriend, so special. I know what you mean about just being called 'mum'. If someone shouts that out in a store, every mother in the near vicinity turns around!
Great storytelling.

Peachy Stream said...

I have so many nicknames from my mum and dad! One in particular "Lottie"...no relation to my actual name. Mum overheard a child being called Lottie in the park and asked the parent what the kids real name was (Assuming it was also a nickname). Turns out her real name WAS Lottie. Mum wanted the ground to open up and swallow her as the mother of Lottie glared at her!

Miriam said...

Oh dear, I am another one who gives everything an nickname, longer or shorter or a completely different name! Hmm would that make a 10 on the 10th post?

K said...

That is just beautiful, what a lovely nickname she gave you.

Karen said...

I have a friend who does the same thing. Every teacher in our school had a nickname, created much the way you do yours.

Sian said...

I've just come from Carrie's and it's lovely that you are next on the list! We are nickname givers too, but I daren't pass any of them on without permission hehe.

Thank you so much for making time for a story today when I know you are with family. A family story seems so perfectly appropriate :)

Alison said...

You've made me think of the numerous names I have for Kirsty...and for the dog!
Alison xx

Melissa said...

What a fun story & a great way to keep from having to look around every time someone says "Mom" - LOL.

I have it on my list of stories-to-tell about my nickname. It all started with Karo syrup . . .

scrappyjacky said...

How lovely to find out the story behind the name....I've often wondered.

Mom said...

I've been "mom" for so many years that a nickname at this point would completely ruin me! Although my grandkids have been know to call me "graham cracker" and whenever my hubby refers to me as "Boo", our 3 year old grandson catches it everytime and says "Why you call grandma Boo?" But isn't it special when someone does call you by a nickname--very endearing! Love you, Sweets! xoxo

Helen said...

I loved this - partly because I'm a nicknamer too! This has reminded me to try and make a list of them as they are always changing :)

Becky said...

We are nickname givers too! Penny is often Penwen and Ben is Benjiboy! I won't bore you with all other nicknames we have had for each other over the years! Loved reading how you became Mom-friend - I think it is a lovely name.

Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita said...

my poor children answer to sooo many nicknames. Especially my little one. Poor thing must think she has 17 names!

Jo said...

That's a great story, I'm another one who has to give everyone nicknames :)

Margaret said...

Yeah. The secret about the old boyfriend ? Not so secret anymore. Sweet post.

Jimjams said...

Love it - how special your relationship must be. We picked names for our kids that could be shortened by their friends, but vowed that we wouldn't shorten them ourselves - ha ha ha ha - like my own name, their full names are now mostly used only in anger! Nicknames all the way!

Maria Ontiveros said...

What a lovely story! LOve the boyfriend shout-out (sorry Carrie!). Rinda, of course, is a nickname - a shortened version of Maria Linda.
My dad also had other nicknames for all the kids (I was "li'l girl.")
Rinda

Cheri said...

lovely story - I'd love to be "mom-friend" some day. In our home the only one with a true nickname is Becca (short for Rebecca). Rachel and Sarah always get called by their real name. But I do have a term of endearment... when I'm speaking to any of them and want to convey that I'm listening and available to be sympathetic or whatever I say "what's up munchkin?" None of them have protested yet...

Gail said...

Lovely story Deb and what a wonderful nickname you have. Our family aren't really into nicknames in a big way but we do have some.

Scattychick said...

Love all the little names I chose names for my kids that couldn't be shortened as as a Michelle I hate beeing challed Shell or Shelley so my nicknames for them rather than being shoter are all longer lol

Beverly said...

This was a wonderful story tht definitely needed to be recorded although I even cringed for Carrie at one point ;) My comment was so much longer but I just deleted it, I decided it can be a story ;)

Amy said...

What a lovely story! I've never had a nickname. My Dad called me LittleLegs for a while but luckily that never caught on ;) See you next month I hope!
xXx

Missus Wookie said...

We do nicknames here too - love the names you have and that she liked the post too :)

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