When I was a little girl, my aunt Therese and her then-husband made me a wonderful book with watercolor illustrations: The Little Girl With Altogether Too Many Names. It’s the day in the life of a girl named Nora (that’s me!) who did the things that I did – she spent time in Grandma’s mint green house, avoided naptime at her Montessori pre-school, and went to a birthday party … where this Nora character proceeded to disobey her Daddy, eat too much candy, and turn into the dreaded werebaby. (I’m sure I never did such things.)
Along the way she picks up names until, at the end of the day and in a state of sugar-withdrawal obstinacy, she insists her Daddy call her by her full name: Norrina Tetrazini Toscaninni Subaru Albermarle Cake.
I’m thinking of this now, and how prophetic Therese was….
After we found out we’re having a girl, we settled on the name: first, middle, and last. But then that evening M.’s dad called me.
After offering delighted congratulations (everyone was hoping for a girl), he said: “Now, Nora. Let’s talk about middle names.”
“The name is up to the mother,” he stated, but he implored me to include Lakshmi, saying she is the goddess of good fortune and prosperity – such a name would be “good for us all,” he assured me.
Lakshmi is pretty much the definition of smart and powerful so, why not? But I certainly don’t want to give up the middle name I’d picked out: Denise, in honor of my birth-mother.
And then I want to throw my last name in there somewhere, too.
So now we’re looking at [Redacted First Name] Denise Lakshmi Sherman Subbarao.
They won’t all be on her birth certificate – I’d hate to burden her with that legal ball and chain. But they’ll be hers.
One little girl,
Altogether too many names.