Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Mommy's Good Old Days

This post is part 1 in a 15 week series sponsored by Mommy's Piggy Tales that encourages women to record their youth. Week one's assignment is your birth/naming story.

"What an interesting/unusual/pretty name you have!" is usually the comments I hear from people when they first meet me. Sometimes they ask me to spell my name, sometimes they guess it's origin (French is a common query) and often they just tell me they have never met a "Donette" before. No matter what exclamation I hear, it is still the same. I cannot introduce myself without some comment about my name.

For years I *strongly disliked* (never say hated) my name. As a child, I was often called "donut" (it does not help that there are Hostess powdered "Donettes" out there), but I've heard "been-there-donette," "Darnit" and many other not-so-intelligent puns on my name. My parents still remind me of the times I begged them to change it. The most common name I longed for? Star. Yep, Star. Now that wouldn't have been mocked at all.

I wish I had some magical, epic tale about how my name came into being, but it is actually quite simple. My parents were looking through the baby name book after my birth and saw the name "Danette" and decided to change it to "Donette" because my dad's name is . . . you guessed it, Don. They, of course, thought it was beautiful and unique and perfect, even as I later questioned their sanity. The funny part of the story comes when they came to church the first Sunday after I was born and an older woman approached them and said, "Donette is my name!" My parents were shocked - here they imagined they were the only ones who could invent such a perfect namesake, and there was one all along sitting in the same sanctuary as they were. Oh well, she spelled hers with two n's, so it was unique enough to placate my parents.

I have encountered one other Donette over the years - while sitting in a waiting room before I met my college advisor and I wanted to ask if she had the same love/hate relationship with her name, but she just gave me a weird look after our name was called and went back to the advisor's office before I could speak.

Now I embrace my name. I joke that I should have changed it before I started college, as I could have taken on a new identity, but I'm glad I never did. It's a tribute to my dad, and to my parent's bravery in taking artistic license on a published name. I may have to spell it whenever I meet someone new and I may have to endure the questions, but it's my name, and I wouldn't be me without it, I think.

And as a tribute to the name, Dan and I chose it for the daughter we lost in pregnancy. I don't think I would have chosen it as her name had she lived, for I know too well the trials she would have endured, (petty as they really were), but as a simple way to embrace the name, honor my daughter and accept it as part of my legacy and now hers, too.


10 comments:

nickandcandace said...

I'm a Candace, but no one ever spells it correctly. I get "Candice", "Candance", and the most offensive of all (in my eyes) "Kandis" (seriously, a K and ending in S? Give my folks a little more credit than that people. haha)

But I can say I've never known a Donette, and I think it has quite a ring to it. :)

Ginny Marie said...

My mom got her name in a similar way...her aunt's name was Loretta, so my grandparents named my mom Loreeta. She never did meet another Loreeta!

I love the baby pictures you included...you were an adorable baby!

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Love your tale of your name, since it is similar to mine...I just didn't go into the wonderful detail you did.
This is great...
Janette, whose name is always pronounced "Janet"

Gretchen said...

Donette, I didn't know you used your name for the daughter you lost. I think that is precious. Love you and your name, Nettie. ;)

~Gretchen

Debi said...

You have a sweet response to your legacy. Names do come and go like fads and it was once common to name a daughter after her father with a feminine form of the name. Naming your daughter in a similar fashion continues the legacy of 'blessing'. I look forward to your stories.

Bless you!

Olivia said...

I love the story of your name!
suchakingdom.blogspot.com

gianna said...

I love your name! And I think it's funny that both our parents think that they created our names by themselves when actually it was already out there. I tease them, but I love them! You are a great story teller! I seriously can't wait to hear more!

Janna said...

Wow, I really liked what you shared about you name but when you got to naming your baby who you lost that just is so special. My mom is penny diann and the named the baby she lost diann penny. I really think it is so great when people name the babies they lost and acknowledge the baby's life in that way. Thanks for sharing!

Miscellaneous From Missy said...

What a cute baby you were! :-) I love the fact that you wanted to be renamed Star (cuz that wouldn't have been made fun of). I used to insist that people call me Stephanie Rose. Heehee! Good thing we've both grown to like our names now.

DonetteVC said...

I'm a "Donette" also! ...my dad's name is - you guessed it - Don! My maiden name was "Pippin" - Donette Pippin. If there weren't enough things that kids could do with Donette - add Pippin on top of that! PipSqueak, Pippi, Pippi Longstockings! The list goes on. Like you, I love my name now. I just came across your blog tonight, I'm anxious to read more.

Donette Van Cleve

(BTW - My dad is a Baptist Preacher.)