What's in a name?

Today was back to school night. It went well Natalia is too excited :-) It's cute though. She jumps up in the morning gets ready all by herself. 

Going back to tonight... we went and met the classroom. The teacher is nice and funny. She remembered a lot of the kids names already so she mentioned it. Natalia raised her hand and said, "you still forget my name sometimes but it's okay." I was surprised to hear her say that and my first reaction was to scold her on pointing out things like that. But her teacher was nice and said, "I know Natalia I'm sorry it's just easier to say Natalie so I get confused." Natalia responded "it's okay I'll keep reminding you." And that was that. I stood there kinda dumb-founded and then this sense of pride took over. I envied her courage and self-worth. 

Growing- By Flor Olivo
When I was younger and even until this day as a college student, my name is mispronounced over and over. Floor, Fleur, Laura, Flo, Flower. etc. For a while I resorted to going by my middle name which is actually De Maria but I shortened to Maria so that others wouldn't feel inconvenienced when they called on me. I always felt uncomfortable to hear people call me by a name that I didn't identify with. Pretty horrible now that I think about it because my name is me. In my case my name represents where I came from. I am the oldest daughter in my family. The first granddaughter on my dad's side of the family and the first on my mother's side to carry my grandmother's name. 

Flor de Maria is my maternal grandmother. 

Maria de los Angeles is my paternal grandmother. 

My parents were ecstatic to meet their baby girl and when it came to giving me a name they couldn't pick between the two women they loved the most in their life and so they combined both names in their honor. My full name is Flor de Maria de los Angeles. Not many people know this, well now everyone knows. 

It took me a long time to love my name and even until this day I allow a lot of people to mispronounce it because I don't want to inconvenience them. I am so used to saying, "oh it's okay don't worry about it." 

Natalia really taught me a lesson today. I know I always remind her that her name is Natalia and that she shouldn't be scared of telling people to pronounce it right. I guess what I didn't know is that she listened. 

I am getting teary eyed right now writing this. I feel so proud of my baby girl for defending her identity and loving herself. This meant a lot to me and I never want to forget the feeling I felt today. 

Tomorrow when I'm out in the world I will remember to follow her example because I owe it to myself and to my ancestors to honor my name. 

Thank you my love for reminding me of who I am. 


Leslie said…
Yay for Natalia!!! I think it's great that she stood up for herself and keeps reminding her teacher how to pronounce her name! Good for her!

My kids and I have the same problem here in Mexico. I sometimes let it slide, but not my kids. They're just like Natalia and keep reminding everyone how to pronounce their names! :)
Love it!!!! Tan bella la Natalia. Un gran ejemplo, I am so sick people always pronuncia mal mi nombre y yo les digo, esta bien, don't worry. Pero mi nombre es bonito me gustaria que lo pronunciaran como es. Thank you Natalia por una buena leccion
Natalia is a strong little girl! Se parece mucho a ti. I know what you mean about having a name mispronounced repeatedly. It's confusing when you're little. My full first name sounds awful pronounced with an English accent. I love yours, Flor. ; )
The Cunos said…
Made me a little teary reading it too.

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