Since before she was born we had plans to call the kid by her shortened middle name. That’s always who she was going to be, and it fit her completely.

Last week she told us tentatively at dinner that she wants to go by the full name, no shortening. We told her that was fine, if that’s what she wanted. It’s her name, her identity.

We wrote a note to her teacher letting her know and we began the process of trying to remember to call her by her full name.

Except I’m really, really bad at it. It’s so hard to remember. She’s such a Maggie. She just is.

I might be the first parent in history who, when angry or frustrated, shouts out the shortened name of her child.

The thing is that before I was an Amy I was something else. My parents were planning to call my by my shortened middle name too. For the first few months I was Beth. (I don’t remember this period, obviously).

For a lot of my life I have felt not entirely comfortable with my name. People used to call me by my last name (pre-marriage) and that was almost more comfortable. I also always wanted to have a nickname and never really had one.

That’s part of the reason I wanted to give my child a name with many, many nickname options. Both her first and her middle name can be used in a variety of ways and I wanted to give her this option, to choose what she eventually would be called.

I just didn’t think she would make the change until she was a grown up.

I mean, that’s my baby girl. It’s such a grown up name.

IMG_2682I’m not ready.

But I’m also thrilled that she’s thinking about herself and really evaluating how she feels about things like this. I almost take it as a sign that when she gets older she’ll think about different and bigger decisions and consider them the same way. She’ll try out a few different ways of being and she’ll figure out what really feels like her.

These are the steps to being happy, really. And it’s taken me a lot longer to figure it out than it took my five year old.

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