Thursday, July 1, 2010

What's In A Name?

Because all of Joel's troubles with his lower limbs (he had extensive ankle surgery just last week on his left leg-a recovery time of 4-6 months, soon to be followed by the same procedure on his right leg) are not enough for one family, I have been having some problems with my right foot and left ankle. I finally made an appointment to be seen, hoping the final result would be a referral to a podiatrist. I was seen today and had to have x-rays done as well. That means my paperwork was handed to: the desk clerk, the nurse, the doctor, the x-ray clerk and the x-ray tech. That resulted in, as usual, a lot of questions about my name.

Ever since I was younger (I almost said "little"-ha!) I have answered many questions about my highly unusual first name. Little-yep, many of my loyal readers are familiar with it (okay, many might be pushing it, but I am guessing 4 out of the 5 of you already knew that!), but my first name is more commonly used as an adjective. It's a family thing, a family from the South, as I told the tech today. When they hear it most people say, "Little?", normally followed by, "I asked for your first name, not your last name." Me-"That is my first name." That leads to, "Little? Your first name is Little?" and pick one:

"That is so cute!"
"I know someone named ___________(fill in the blank with any variety of weird words)."
"Where did that come from?"
"Was it because you were tiny when you were born?"

Me (thinking to myself):
"Not really"
"Wow, that makes Little sound normal."
"Why do you care?"
"That is the dumbest response ever-and no, I was 8 chunky pounds!"

However, even though my name requires more explanation than most, I still love it. It really sets me apart and it makes for a great conversation starter. I have been dealing with very surly customer service people, receptionists, etc. and once they hear my name they have to ask about it and suddenly they are a little friendlier. Even as a child, I didn't really mind the questions (I actually had a harder time explaining Clarissa, my middle name). But I am always proud to share that it is a family name, handed down from my grandmother to my mother, to me. And now to my daughter. It makes me feel unique. I guess it should make me feel weird, but it doesn't. It makes me feel loved to know that I am part of a select group, and it strongly identifies me with my family. Of course, it is not what I go by. That would be a "little" confusing-get it? But I proudly sign it to all my credit cards, have it on my driver's license and it is even embossed on my Bible.It is on all my legal paperwork. I am not ashamed to share my story with everyone.

Yep, you know it is coming-the normal tie-in. I can't help but think that it is so funny that I am never afraid to talk about my name, or my family. I don't mind taking the time to explain it to someone because it is who I am. I may get a little annoyed when someone makes fun of it, or doesn't really understand, but it doesn't keep me from using it. Yet, when it comes to the most important part of my identity-the Christian part- I sometimes try to hide it, or make it seem less important. Kind of like if I switched my first and middle name-you know, Clare L., instead of Little Clare. I use "friendlier" words like God, instead of Christ. I gloss over it-"yep, I'm a Christian, how about the weather?", instead of taking the time to go into detail about what that really means to me. I don't always proudly display it-and I am not talking about t-shirts and bumper stickers! I have a much better Family name, one that is even more special and unique than my given name. I should be much more proud of that. I am set apart, grafted into the greatest Family line of all. So I want to take the same pride and courage in explaining my Father's name as I do my own-because I know He is the thing in my life that I am the most proud of being a part.

By the way, just in case you were wondering, my x-rays were fine and I did get a referral to podiatry. Joel is doing well, not loving being on crutches for the next 5weeks, but the surgery was definitely necessary. He is off for the next month, which will be nice, incapacitated or not!


  1. LOL. I've known your name "troubles" for many years now, but now I get to experience it myself - hence MY blog post a long time ago about names.

    Hope Joel recovers quickly and that your foot problems get solved!!

    ~ Jen

  2. I love this post!! I truly enjoy reading your blog & I LOVE the story behind your name.

    On a side note - I MISS YOU! I will be in town Tues. & we should hang out some time. Even if I come to you :0). Glad to hear Joel is recovering nicely...I'll call you & chat about getting together.

  3. Hi Clare, Your name story was wonderful and very well written I must say. I have something to add that you may or may not know about the name Little and how your grandmother got the name. It appears that the doctor who delivered her was named Dr. Little so Momma was inspired to name her "Little Rachel" ... especially since Momma's name was Rachel and our grandmother on Daddy's side was named Rachel as well. With all of them in the same house, she briliantly decided on Little Rachel and there you have it. Hope you have a wonderful day and thanks for sharing your thoughts about your name! I love it!!! Love you all, "Great Aunt Paula" LOL

  4. Hey Clare,
    This is Grams via Kelly. I was delivered by a midwife and daddy had a friend who was Dr. Little, I believe he was a Dr of Divinity. I love your blog.

  5. Thanks for clearing that up Grams! I had my own story a "little" muddled, so I am glad to know-besides, what an honor to be named after a man of God, right? I am always so thankful you weren't ashamed to pass on your name, it is one of my favorite parts of my heritage. I am not only named after a pastor, but TWO mighty women of God.:)

  6. I listened intently to that message, and there were actually two parts. Both were very vivid and strong. Christian church near me



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