It’s All In the Name
The stories we are told
A few newsletters ago, I confessed that “My family is full of it.” I promised to start sharing some of my family’s stories and urban legends, and I thought it would be fun to share how my name, Teri Lynn Case, was chosen by my parents. TLC–great initials, right? So sweet.
I’ve heard the story of my name numerous times throughout my life–after all, there was a moral to the story. But this week I asked my mom how they chose my and my siblings’ names, and in my case, the story was similar but different. New details. Same result. Same point to be made. Same moral. Both versions say so much about my parents’ touch-and-go relationship.
Teri v. Sheri
The story I was told many moons ago:
I went into labor with you on November 13th, and I was determined not to have you on Friday the 13th. You were born at 1:04 a.m. on Saturday the 14th. Well, your dad dropped me off at the hospital when my contractions started, and instead of staying or checking in, he went to the bar and started pre-celebrating your birth. I was in the hospital for two days with you–and you had colic–and no word from him. So when the birth certificate came, I decided to name you Teri.
The story I was told this week:
I went into labor with you on Friday the 13th. I told everyone, ‘I’m not having this baby today.’ You were born at 1:04 a.m. on Saturday the 14th. Your dad wanted to name you Sheri after a woman we both knew. I didn’t like this woman at all, and I thought your dad liked her a little too much if you know what I mean. He had dropped me off at the hospital and started drinking and went on a runner. I didn’t see him for a few days. Since I got to complete the birth certificate, I picked Teri.
Moral of the story: If something is important enough to you, you’ll stick around to see it through, but if you don’t, I’ll never let you forget it.
I wonder how often my dad was reminded of his choice to go on a ‘runner’ when he heard my name? And I’m so glad that I wasn’t named Sheri. I’d much rather have my dad regretting his mistakes (if he remembered them) then to have a name that reminded my mom of a woman she was jealous about and disliked.
As an adult, I appreciate that I was told the first version as a child. I was raised on drama. My dad spent a lot of time at the bar so I would have understood that as a kid, but even then, I didn’t need to know about jealousy between my parents, “if you know what I mean.”
I also think my name suits me. My middle name would have been Lynn regardless. I’m happy my name’s acronym is TLC rather than SLC (Salt Lake City).
I called my mom today and asked, “Despite how you chose ‘Teri’ did you realize–at the time–my initials stood for ‘Tender, Loving, Care’?”
“I sure didn’t,” she said.
“But it suits me well, don’t you think?” I asked, shamelessly fishing for a compliment.
“Don’t forget you had colic when you were a baby,” she said.
She’ll always have a sense of humor. I’m sure humor is what got her through many days. I’m sure her sense of humor has a lot to do with my own.
Do you know the story behind your name? I’d love to hear it. Send me an email.
Until next time, thank you for being you.