Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Passion Denied

After reading Mama's Got a Fake I.D. (reviewed yesterday), I can't help but think about my own identity. I was named Christina (Christina after my dad's grandmother and also after Christy by Catherine Marshall, I book I have yet to read) at birth, but before I even made it out of the hospital my father and Uncle Leon had nicknamed me Spook. No one has any idea as to the origin of the nickname, but it stuck for several years. My mother's entire side of the family calls me Christina to this day, and that is what I used in school until I was eleven or so, then I became Chris. My dad's whole family calls me Christy. I can always identify how someone in my life knows me by what they call me. Even my stepbrother Jeremy who I met just seven years ago call me Christina, not because that's how I introduced myself or refer to myself, but because that's what my mother calls me. People I went to grade school with call me Chris, so they are easy to identify. I underwent a serious identity crisis in junior high and changed my preferred moniker to Christy, and I've stuck with that in the twenty+ years since.

Sometime around the age of ten, my dad stopped calling me Spook and in high school my uncle's family reverted to Christina as well, and I have always felt like some important part of my identity, of who I truly am, disappeared with the evanescence of Spook, as crazy as that sounds. It feels like everything that fell apart in my life happened after she left, and I can't help but wonder who Christy would be today if Spook was still a part of her.

I've since acquired new names, as most women will. To my husband, I am Luv. When Doogie and Molly were small, they called me Mama, but with the birth of Mia and her calling me Mommy, they have since switched to Mom, which I prefer. When I think of myself by names, those are what I use: Christy, Mommy, Luv, those define me today.

Before Doogie was born I decided to name him after his father and grandfather, making him Douglas Bruce Kallies III. It does have a certain majesty to it, but it's quite a mouthful for a little guy. His dad was saddled with the nickname Boots as a baby (due to the casts he wore for clubfeet), and his entire family still calls him that. It's even his email address, so it's a name he wears proudly, but I wanted a little more say in what my son's nickname would be, hence Doogie. Yeah, I know what was I thinking?!? My father hated the nickname, so Doogie, like me, has a divided nickname based on his family. My side of the family calls him Buck, his dad's calls him Doogie. At school he's Tito (don't ask, I don't have a clue). And now I actually call him Bud more than Doogie.

Molly was named after the Irish folk song Cockles and Mussels, so her full name is Molly Malone Kallies, but the only time I ever call her that is when she's in big trouble. She seems to stick with Molly and doesn't have a lot of nicknames other than the occasional few I've used since she was born: Moll Doll and Molly Mae. Signing her name on Christmas cards is remarkably easy compared to signing the rest of us: Christy, Christina, Doogie, Buck, Doug, Mia, Belle.

Who's Belle, you may be wondering, well that's my dad again deciding he didn't like the nickname I came up with. Mia was born Amelia Isabelle Lockstein, named after a great-grandmother and a great-great grandmother. For short Jesse and I came up with Mia Belle, meaning my beauty, which has been shortened even further to Mia. That's how she is known at school and how we introduce her. Except that my dad's side of the family calls her Belle, which she loves. Jesse and I have a wide range of nicknames for her: Little Bear, Bella, Pookie, Babybear, along with the usual terms of endearment (honey, sweetie, dear). This is a little girl with a whole lot of names! In fact, the other day I called her Amelia because she was pushing her limits and she stopped dead in her tracks and said, "What did you call me that for?" I explained how I call the other two kids by their full names when they are in trouble and that she was getting close to the line. She accepted it without further comment, and changed her behavior, but it made me laugh to think that the only time she's called by her real name is when she's in trouble!

I wonder if as Mia gets older she will take on a different form of her name, maybe even revert to Amelia. Will Jesse and I drop certain nicknames as she matures, and will she miss them as much as I missed Spook? Does each of these names make up another small portion of our personality, or are they just silly names? I believe that there is a power in words. Each one of my kids' nicknames tells them that they are special to the one who uses it. Dad has recently assigned a nickname to Molly because she felt left out by Buck and Belle, so he calls her Max. So names must bear some weight on our souls, even the absence of them. I look forward to getting to the doors of Heaven someday and finding out what name Jesus has for me; that will be the one I truly treasure!

A Passion Denied
by Julie Lessman is the third book in her potent Daughters of Boston series. Lizzie O'Connor has been in love with James Brady since she first set eyes on him when she was just thirteen. In the five years since, he has been her spiritual mentor and what was initially infatuation has grown into a mighty passion for a man who loves God with all of his heart. But Brady has some secrets in his past, secrets that he feel are too dark to ever dare expose them to Lizzie. His denial of his love for her sets up a chain of events that will change the entire O'Connor family. Lessman has created a true bodice-ripper for Christian romance fans without ever crossing the bounds of propriety. I love the honest conversations between the married sisters about the marital bed and the troubles they each face there. Faith and Charity are back with their fiery personalities still in place. Lessman further mixes up the plot by throwing the marriage of Patrick and Marcy, the parents, into jeopardy. Too often, books show couples experiencing passion and desire before marriage and then after the honeymoon phase showing only dissolution and drama. All of the O'Connors are filled with passionate love that expresses itself, even after twenty-six years of marriage. I don't think that this book was as strong as the first two in the series. Patrick & Marcy's troubles could have carried its own book, and Lizzie's constant running back to Brady despite his frequent demolishing of her feelings made me want to give her a good shake. She bounced from man to man a bit too easily. I do love how Lessman portrays Faith's dilemma of working after marriage, as well as other social issues of the 1920s that set the scene perfectly. I do hope that Lessman continues the series with Katie, the last of the O'Connor daughters, as well as the two boys: Steven and Sean. This is a family I look forward to spending more time with soon!

Doogie's at a Memorial Day cookout with friends. Molly's dogsitting for the weekend, and Mia's spending the day burning off energy at my mother's. The house is still except for my music and the sound of windchimes outside. I am loving every moment of this! Of course, I will be glad when they are all home again and the house is filled with the sound of their voices.