Two weeks ago, Lily made an announcement that has complicated my whole world.
“I don’t want to be Lily anymore. I want to be Lilianna.”
Actually, Lily is her middle name, but what she said involved her nickname and her real first name and was pretty much the situation above. She wants us to call her her full real first name instead of her nickname. The change converts what we call her from two syllables to four.
We asked her why she wanted to do this. “Lilianna is the most beautiful name in the whole world and it’s my real name. You should call me that. I don’t want to be Lily anymore!”
We couldn’t argue with that. We chose her real first name because it was beautiful, but we ALSO chose it (and actually found it) because we were determined to have a child with her nickname whether that child was a girl or a boy (her real nickname is unisex).
I’ve been calling Lily by her nickname since before she was born. Making the switch from her nickname to her full name is brutal, but she is determined to change it. She corrects EVERYONE every time they say her nickname. And I have to respect that. If she wants to be called by the name I gave her and not her nickname, that’s her choice.
Really, I can relate to her choice. Once upon a time I was a first grader with a very common nickname. I hated another girl with my very same nickname and last initial. I had to write my entire last name on every piece of homework because of our identical nicknames and last initials, so I decided to go by my more unusual real first name so I could write less AND not be confused with that girl I hated. I don’t remember people struggling with this, but I do know that my grandfather called me by my nickname until the day he died nearly 20 years later. A few of my cousins also still call me by my nickname.
I never understood why they couldn’t make the transition to my full name until now. I am having a horrible time getting myself to say Lilianna instead of Lily. It is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I don’t even think of her as Lilianna. In my head, she is Lily. It’s impossible to automatically call her what she wants. If I do remember to say it, it usually ends up coming out “Lily…anna”.
My husband has transitioned to the full name better than I have and keeps scolding me for messing up. I think Rose even is having an easier time with this than I am. In fact, today when I called her Rose, she told me to call her by her first, middle AND last name. Um, no. I will comply with attempting to call one child by her real first name, but there’s no way I’m going to call Rose by her entire legal name! Can you imagine? I mean, it is the same number of syllables, I’ll give her that, but no.
I hope I’m able to get to the stage where Lily isn’t correcting me because I really do respect her choice. We gave her that first name so she could use it if she wanted to– especially professionally. It’s probably going to be a long time before “Lilianna” comes to me automatically, but I THOUGHT it would be a long time before she’d want to be called that! I thought I had until at least middle school!
I’m really going to miss that nickname.
And for the record, she will continue being Lily on here since Lilianna is only a hypothetical example and NOT her middle name anyway.