I have an unusual name. I was probably eight years old before I realized that not everyone had to spell their name when they said it. My mother’s name was also unique. I often asked her why she chose to pass along to me the challenge of an odd name, after living all of her life with hers. But Mama liked to stand out in the crowd.
And so my mother named me JeNan. Most people pronounce it poorly (and many don’t even try) so I try to tell those I meet that it rhymes with Japan. That seems to help. And I don’t have a middle name so I had no choice but to go with it. I could have changed it to Jan or something easier when I went to college, or when I get married, or when we moved to a new town. But by then I had gotten used to it. It was me.
Through the years many people have been creative with their pronunciations. Some have been way off. Perhaps they never learned phonics. Most folks say JeeNan, and in fact many of my college friends will write GNan in jest when they send me a note or message.
And then last fall our daughter Beth (note the easy name) and her husband Jamie had their first child. Our precious granddaughter is such a delight. We are so thankful and blessed by having her in our lives.
“What is she going to call you?” my friends have asked. The answer is simple (as long as she goes along with it). Nan it is. Simple, easy, sweet.
Since then I have tried to use my new name when I order food or coffee at restaurants. But I have had some trouble with it. No one understands me when I say Nan. Perhaps it is my southern accent (“Nay-un”). So I still have to spell it. One day I had to repeat the spelling three times (??). Another time the server thought I said Diane. At times I think “Nan” may not be meant to be. But I am not ready to give up, not yet.
I hope little Madison catches on better. Something tells me that I think she will.