It is my birthday and I am having a great day. Friends calling and singing on my voicemail; facebook postings; and right here, birthday wishes from old and new friends – Yes! Does it get any better than this?!
Birthdays are inextricably linked to the name you carry throughout your life. At the risk of my anonymity, I have five. I did have six at one point from being married, but back to five. My middle initials are M.J.N. and an attorney was passing by, saw it in my checkbook, and said, “Mostly Just Noise?” Witty and accurate. I have a tale to tell, of course…
When I was little, I asked my Mom why my middle name was Josephine, and she launched into a lovely story about how I was supposed to be born on March 24, but she wanted me sooner than that. We already had a Patrick in the family (my brother), so St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th was out, and St. Joseph’s Day is the 19th. “I just couldn’t wait that long, Pooh Bear, so I asked that you be born on March 18 and promised St. Joseph that I would name you after him if he would grant my wish.” Isn’t that lovely? Grin. It was years later that she told me the truth of how I came to have the middle name, Josephine.
When I was six, my mother joined AA and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) because she had become addicted to codeine, which at that time was in cough medicine and easily obtainable – you just signed the Pharmacy’s notebook. And, found a lot of pharmacies…. “I was scared you would suffer birth defects and I prayed to St. Joseph that he protect you from my weaknesses. I asked that you be born healthy and strong and I would name you after him. The only thing wrong when you were born was that most babies kick both legs out to the side (she accompanied this with a gesture demonstrating how babies’ legs kick). You, however, kicked one leg out sideways and one leg straight up and down, which meant you had to be in a hip brace your first year and then all was well…” Not only that, but I always won hands down for the most perfect turned out feet in ballet. So, roses might smell as sweet even if by another name, but I’m thanking St. Joseph and the other three Saints (can’t have too many!) for being here, against all odds – both Mom’s and my adventurous behavior! That is what is in a name.
Update: I should note that attending those meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous from the time I was six was probably what kept me safe and sound when everybody else was experimenting. My adventures were along other avenues, such as skydiving, Tae Kwon Do, and, um, other things – grin.