Does being named 'Nancy' determine what kind of car I drive, people that I'm friends with or type of dogs I own?
Would another name change the person that I am today? How I think? Who I know? How we interact?
I was adopted at birth.
I never wanted to be one of those people on the talk shows that dwell on 'who their parents are'. My parents were wonderful parents. I always felt loved and well cared for. I never wanted for anything and overall had a very, very nice upbringing.
My parents waited a long time for children.
I have a brother 4 years my senior.
He's adopted as well.
I believe that we were fortunate in having a better upbringing than some children because my parents really 'wanted' us. No oopsies, no mistakes, no Irish twins. They applied to adopt children because they weren't able to have any of their own and then they...waited.
It took several years before my brother became available. He was also adopted at 3 days old. My parents almost immediately applied for a second child. I came along 4 years later.
My brother when told he was going to have a baby sister built a place for me to stay.
It was outside, next to the dogs house.
He wanted me to stay dry if it rained.
I was about 3 or 4 when my mother told me I was an adopted child.
We had this big upholstered rocking chair in our living room; green nubby fabric worn thin from love on the arms. I was sitting on my mothers lap with her rocking me cradled in her arms. She said, "I'm not your real mother. You're adopted."
Yeah, right mom. And my brother is from Mars.
Oh...he IS from Mars. Silly me. (Sorry there Charles's, ol' boy...I couldn't help myself.)
Seriously though, I was like, "No. YOU'RE my mom. You'll ALWAYS be my mom."
And that is about all that we ever talked about it. Not that she or I didn't want to. We just...didn't. No need to really. Why?
Sometimes when I would be asked questions at the doctors office I would wonder..."Does high blood pressure run in my family?" But other than medical questions, I rarely think about it.
I DID get upset when listening to Howard Stern one morning. He kept going on and on about how adopted children weren't wanted by their 'Real Parents' and that's why they were adopted. I wanted to call in. Let him know what I thought. I thought that had his own parents known what an asshole he'd turn out to be, they might have given him up as an infant. Of course, from what I understand, they felt that way most of his childhood. As you can tell, I'm not a big Howard fan. Some are, I'm not one of them. And his statements didn't help his case any.
Once when traveling to the Abacos in the Bahamas I forgot my passport at home. I knew exactly where I left it. On the butcher block in the kitchen. I called a friend when I got to Miami to have them overnight it to me as my flight to the Hope Town was in the morning.
I relaxed, had a nice room service dinner, set out my travel clothes for the next day and slept well. The next morning I called down to the desk to ask if UPS had delivered my package. They informed me that Yes, UPS had been there, but No, there was nothing for me. We called UPS and found out that my package had gotten misplaced and was now somewhere in Tennessee. That wouldn't do me any good when my flight was boarding in 2 hours.
So I called my mom.
She faxed down every piece of paper she had to identify my existence. She faxed her passport, her birth certificate, my birth certificate and my adoption papers.
Prior to that moment standing in the lobby of the Intercontinental hotel, I'd never seen them before.
I had been previously named by my birth parents. Marsha.
I now had in my hands my previous name. Complete with middle and last name. With this information I could easily track down my birth parents. Find out what the story is/was. But I felt no need. I felt no anxiety, no remorse for another life, no wanting to confront. What I felt was relief. Relief that my name was Nancy. Not Marsha Dee Wallner. That didn't sound right, feel right or have the same cadence of my own name.
I wonder if I had grown up with the name Marsha, how different would I be from the person I am today? I can't see myself answering to the name Marsha. It just seem...to fit. Me.
And then I think of my good friend Melissa. Beautiful, funny, witty, kind. With 3 lovely children and 1 loving husband.
And my neighbor Melissa who also has 3 lovely children and 1 loving husband.
And an old school friend named Melissa. Who also has 3 children and 1 husband.
If my name had been Melissa...would I have 3 children and a husband?
Is this coincidence that everyone that I personally know with that name seems to have marital bliss? And gorgeous offspring?
Maybe I should start wearing red like other Nancy namesakes. Maybe I should Google prominent successful people with the name of Nancy and see what connects them. Or maybe just change my name. To Melissa.
I talked my way onto that flight to the Bahamas without my passport. They allowed me on but couldn't guarantee that I could pass through customs once there. They asserted that there was a high probability the Bahamians would turn me away and I'd be returning to Miami to wait for the proper documentation. I succeeded in talking my way through customs onto the Island. I had to stay until my package caught up with my travels. I would not be able to return to the States without it.
But that's okay, it's gorgeous there in Hope Town.
I had a wonderful place to stay, and I fit into the local climate and settled into the pace of the Islands. I really didn't want to leave. As far as I was concerned, UPS could take all the time they wanted to deliver my passport. But all things come to an end and one day while sitting on the pier, enjoying the local food and cold beer, a dingy pulled up to the dock.
"Are you Nancy?" he asked me.
"Yes. I am."
He then handed me a brown UPS box. My passport had finally arrived. 3 weeks to the day that I arrived, it was now about time to go home. To the states.
Our hostess on the island name was Grace.
Nancy means grace.
So I was already home. In a way.
But I wonder...had I been Marsha, would it have been the same? I think not.
That just wouldn't be...me.