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?