In preschool, I learned the alphabet. In kindergarten, I mastered writing my name. And then, years passed, and I was about to turn 16!
At this point, my mom explained that when I signed my drivers license, I would then have a legal signature. Truth be told, I listened more than she thinks I did. Wow. A legal anything made me feel grown up. I couldn’t help but be enamored by the thought.
“It would be good for you to decide how you want to sign your name. It helps to be consistent and sign the same way especially on important or legal papers,” she advised.
What a decision! I got to work right away practicing various options.
First, middle and last name? First name, initial, last name? First and last names only? The variations made me dizzy!
What mom didn’t realize was that her suggestion actually caused concentrated thought on my behalf. A miracle for any 16 year old! I was developing a signature and it would symbolize me while demonstrating connectedness to my family.
Throughout the years, I had always admired my mother’s beautiful signature. Between her first name and my father’s last name was a beautifully flourished capital “H.” It signified her maiden name. I considered it a glorious reminder of her life before marriage.
Now that it was my turn to have a serious signature, I commenced the cursive options:
- Cheryl Bailey – first and last name – short and sweet like me!
- Cheryl L. Bailey – first, middle initial and last name – too rugged for my personality.
- Cheryl Lynn Bailey – first, middle and last name – took too long to write.
Then, years passed – again. Funny how that happens, but back to the story.
College graduation. Then a “keeper,” engagement and impending marriage. But what would I do with my name?
Keep it? Combine it? Have a collaborative effort? Hmmm.
I considered them all!
- Cheryl Lemine – first and new last name – too tricky sounding.
- Cheryl Bailey Lemine – first, maiden and new last name – too cumbersome and timeconsuming to say.
- Cheryl B Lemine – first, maiden name initial and new last name – yes, this would work.
I would keep my “B” just as my mother had kept her “H.”
And like her initial, mine would pay tribute to my loving past – one that includes:
- A mother who was the first in her family to graduate from college;
- A father who was a forester and whose parents I never knew due to their early deaths;
- Maternal grandparents who unknowingly loved and hugged me so much that it seemed as if I had all four grandparents. There’s much more, but I don’t want you to miss the point.
Your name is also important. However, you choose to use it is your signature on life.
I love my name because the “B” is a bridge from my unmarried life to my married one. While it may not have the curly cues my mom’s heavenly “H” does, it reminds me that yesterday still matters to me.
By the way, there’s no period after the “B.” It would take waaaaay too long!