I have built quite the following on facebook, here, and now in my community. Some see me as just my name. A unique name, and I always have to explain it, but assume I’m married because of the two last names. I had three at one point but that was a long time ago. I own my two. My maiden names. My family names.
I actually wanted to drop one due to my father. Our relationship is weird. Rocky but cordial. We are at this weird place where we are building but it’s still tense since his tact button is broken and his old views tend to come out a lot more than they should.
Ultimately, I chose to keep my name from his side. Not because it’s his, but because of my grandfather. The same reason I have my mom’s last name.
These names represent me in the sense of what great genes, and lessons I got from these men. I’ve heard some of the horror stories, and things that they did before me. The weird thing is, by the time I came along, they were different men. They were older, wiser, softer with authority. Since I was the first grandchild of both, it was made clear, I was to pass these lessons not only to my kids but younger cousins.
As I get older, and move into the new chapter of motherhood, these talks, memories, and “ah-ha” moments have kicked in full force. In some ways, I’m an awesome mom. I had a lot of people who helped me get to the point where we are, family and non family, but I also watched and learned from mistakes.
On the other hand, as an oldest grandchild, I’ve been slacking and I hope to change that. Not only for my sake, but my kids, and my cousins kids. It dawned on me as we continue to do family trees, and how difficult it is to know your history, if you don’t share, or just keep in touch. Both taught me that. Especially in the minority communities, not everything is written down, and keeping in touch is the next best thing.
Anywho, despite the strained relationship we have, I wear my last names proudly. I hope my kids wear theirs proudly too, despite their father. Even though a parent might be a jackass, the whole family may not be. They may have honor and teachings that shape you. A blood line of history that made you who you are.
I guess it saddens me that my kids will never know their Dad’s side due to stereotypes. He was damned from the beginning since he was mixed, and then marrying me, and having our kids made things worse. I don’t punish every Mormon I come across, but it still hurts knowing that they’ll never be accepted since they are half black. They may not have my last names, but I hope the wear their names proudly as we come upon them growing up to become adults.
As Wise One crosses the stage, I hope her great grandfathers look on with pride like I do. That their humble beginnings and making these families produced her. Their beliefs, lessons, humor, and honesty gave her the power she has now as she embarks on college life this fall.
I also hope they look on me as I begin my journey of dreams and goals. That their talks and constant hard work shaped me into who I am today. Of course I don’t take away from my grandmothers and my mom, they all had a hand in raising me, but for some reason, that random talks with these men were lessons without me knowing it.
Slick ones they were.
As I work on things today, I grin at my crazy schedule, and Jill of all trades approach. In those two names, it’s one of many thing it has in common with each other. Humility, be grateful, hard working, being creative, and stretching a dollar to name a few others.
To daily success. You two men had a hand in mine.