We received an envelope yesterday containing a Christmas card for us from the little boy we sponsor over in the Ukraine. It said the package from the Ukraine did not arrive in time to get them to us for Christmas but they sent them out soon after receiving them. It said the card was from O. He is 7 years old and a bit behind developmentally but “with [our] generous support” he is progressing steadily. The card was a store bought post card with a little square of paper on the back on which was printed a generic holiday greeting. At the bottom it said To: Blue (not T, just me) From: O. This was not the writing of a 7-year-old boy. I believe this was the writing of the social worker in the Ukraine who sends us our updates on how he is doing. I wish it had been a piece of paper with something unintelligible scribbled on it. I wish it were really from O.
Merry Christmas O! I think of you often and look at your picture up on the fridge almost daily.
So today is St. Patrick’s Day. You probably don’t know this about me but I am Irish. I know, I know, EVERYONE is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. Elephant is an Irish name, some spell it O’Elephant but we just stuck to the more simplified version. Well, I might not actually be Irish either. The story goes that the first member of the Elephant family to come over to the States was English and was running away from the law so he changed his name and pretended to be Irish. I have no idea if this story has any base in reality or if it is just family legend but it is the only sort of family history I know so I’m sticking with it. The other story is that the name Elephant was bought during the Civil War. I guess that sort of thing happened all the time back then. I think the fugitive story is more exciting so I’ll go with that one. The Elephant name means a great deal to me.
When T and I were engaged I spent a lot of time contemplating my name. Tradition and social norms suggest that I would take on T’s last name, Trunks. I didn’t want to reject his name or his family but I didn’t want to give up my own either. You see I am the last of the Elephants in both name and bloodline. I have cousins but they are from my aunts who took on their husbands’ names so they all have different last names. My one uncle was married and divorced and does not have children. My brother died young. This leaves me, I’m it. Last man standing as it were. The Elephant family is a close-knit clan and I want my children to be a part of that. I want to pass down the traditions, the love and the name.
When we got married, I added T’s last name to the end of mine. I became Blue Elephant Trunks. The state decided to hyphenate it for me. On my license, it says Elephant-Trunks. This is a pain in the ass. When I call the doctor, go to the pharmacy, make hotel reservations, do anything that requires my name I have to try to figure out how they have me in their system. Sometimes it is just Elephant. Sometimes it is just Trunks. Sometimes they have Elephant-Trunks and sometimes Elephanttrunks. It is annoying. It irritates the person trying to look me up and they give me that look that says, “Damn feminist freak"! They think I’m an asshole who doesn’t know her own name. I smile sweetly and act as if I’m being patient with their out of date computer system which doesn’t recognize hyphenated or combined last names.
I want my children to have Elephant as a middle name. Boys and girls it will work just the same. It would actually make a really good first name but there is one little problem. In the real world, Elephant rhymes with Trunks. I just can’t do that to my kid. Plus, if I name one kid Elephant then what do I do for the other? I figured I would just go with the universal middle name thing. I think it is just easier for the kids that way. Their last name will be Trunks; not Elephant Trunks and they won’t have the confused looks from the other kids at school. (I remember the trouble once my mother was remarried and we didn’t share the same last name anymore. I don’t want to go through that again.)
One more holiday to recognize. ThreeBee’s anniversary. I tried to leave you a comment but then Blogger flaked out on me. Sorry. I hope you have a marvelous weekend and enjoy the celebration of your life together. I totally understand the theory of “we are not who we were when we got together”. My husband and I have changed so much over the years but it just seems to work out for the better each time. You sound like you are glowing, I hope it continues. (And I don’t mean your skin *wink*)
-This is the second time I have written this post since I had it all typed into Blogger and then it crashed. I will try the copy and paste method this time and see how it goes.