on being emily

A couple of weeks ago, I had an appointment at the ear, nose and throat doctor, and I took my 4-year-old daughter along with me. I hadn’t been to this doctor in the morning before, so I didn’t know that many of his patients are children.

The nurse walked us back to the exam room and then said in a sweet, high little voice, “Now, you just sit right here Emily and the doctor will come see you in a few minutes.”

That’s a strange way to talk, I thought. Then I noticed, she was looking down while she was talking. At my daughter.

“Oh, I’m Emily,” I informed her. (I would have thought the birth date on my chart would have been a dead giveaway.)

“I’m sorry,” the nurse said. “Emily is a little girl’s name. But I guess you were a little girl at one time.”

I spent the next 30 minutes contemplating this statement as the doctor looked in my very adult-like ear, nose and throat. Then, we checked out, made the next appointment and got ready to leave.

“Good-bye, Emily! We’ll see you soon!” the receptionist sang in her little sing-song voice. I just waved politely, and asked my daughter to do the same, since the woman was looking right at her as she talked.

This was the first time I had ever thought of myself as having a little girl’s name. You see, when I was a little girl, I had an older person’s name.

I never had to worry about being one of three Jennifers in my class or the second Cathy. I didn’t mind being different from all the Cindys and Christys. I liked the fact that when I called someone on the phone, even someone I barely knew, I only had to say, “This is Emily”. No last name required since I was the only Emily of my age in town.

If someone shouted, “Emily” in a park or shopping mall, they were looking for me. I responded to the name like a big Labrador being called to a steak dinner.

Until about 10 years ago.

And that’s when all of the other Emilys were born. They came in a great wave. Emily climbed to the top of the chart of popular girls’ names and sat in the No. 1 position for several years. In fact, when we moved into our house eight years ago, two of our neighbors were Emily. They were age 5 and 6.

I wasn’t sure how to handle this rise in popularity of my once unique name. I guess it’s a compliment that everyone loves the name so much they want to give it to their babies. But I kind of liked being the only Emily in town.

For the first few years, I found my head whip-lashing from left to right as mothers called for their little girls all around me. Finally, I learned to keep looking straight ahead when I heard a stranger’s voice call my name.

So, I guess I’ve come full circle. I’m no longer the little girl with the old-fashioned name. Now, I’m the mom of three kids with the name of a little girl.

What about you? Have you had any strange experiences with your name?

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  1. Hey Emily… I used to think I had a unique name too – would get very interesting spellings too come Valentine’s Day:) Now I’ve run into a few more of us Laurels… one person’s Dad was Laurel (that’s the first time I heard it for a male…) then another friend of mine here knows of 4 Laurels… who knew! I’m still likely one of the most unique ones that you’ll come across tho! haha! Likely the ‘little Emily’s’ that you meet aren’t quite as unique as you are either – and I mean that in the nicest way possible too:)Have a good one!Laurel

  2. When we were looking through baby name books at that phase in our lives, I found an interesting book that categorized names into things like Power Names (Easton, Joseph, Brick, etc), Feminine Names (Tiffany, Brooklyn, etc), Names that give your children too much to live up to (Hercules, Jesus, etc), Names that don’t give your kids enough to look up to (Barbie, Bambi, Cindy) – Yup, that’s right – my name was in there with the bimbos…I was mortified.

  3. Cindi, that is so funny! You are certainly NOT EVEN CLOSE to being a bimbo! I don’t have that perception of people named Cindy — or Cindi. Thanks for doing your part to help Cindi’s all over Canada have the reputation of a smart, strong, self-motivated, industrious woman. =]

  4. Hi! I haven’t been able to get your blog to come up in a few days. Glad to have you back! I’m Jenny so as you know I’ve never been original. My husbands name is Mike. Doesn’t get more cliche than that;)

  5. I was the only Heather I knew for a lot of years. Then a similar thing happened, it became more popular and there were a lot of Heather’s about 10-15 years younger than me. I still turn my head and look if I hear someone say MY name! BTW, I was almost a Jennifer – GASP! That would have been horrible! (not that it’s a bad name, there’s just so many Jennifers around!)

  6. My oldest was going to be named Emily if he was a girl. 🙂 And he’s almost 11 now.I was going to be named Emily, too. But my dad overruled it when he saw me and I was Sarah instead.I had friends named Emily when I was a girl. But never more than one in a class. There were usually 2-3 Sarahs.

  7. So funny…I just found your blog and this post cracked me up! I DO kind of like being the only “Bridget,” but maybe there is a wave of them coming soon.

  8. My name is different enough that there aren’t too many of us around. The problem is that no one can pronounce it. Does it look that hard? But no – I’m called Joyln (that’s harder to pronounce!) or Jolene or Jocelyn. And I ALWAYS have to spell it!

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