December 9, 2010
By Any Other Name

Jamie Lynn Polen Palmer

FYI: your first nickname of record appears to have been "Bumblebee."

About a week after you were born, I sat down and wrote a rapturously Percodan-addled journal entry, all about how perfect and unique and wonderful you were. "
Beginning to think maybe she does look like me, a little bit!"  I wrote.  "Round face, pink cheeks, luminous baby-blue eyes, tiny rosebud mouth.  My Sweet Bumblebee!”  I'm sure I thought I'd come up with the perfect pet name for you, right out of the box.  It was cute!  It was quirky!  It was fun!  The problem, of course, was that you were nothing at all like a "Bumblebee”  --  at least, not at that point in your tiny life.  Mostly you were just this little round pink ball of newborn blobitude, wrapped in a yellow receiving blanket with an Enfamil bottle clamped to your face 24/7.  

"Bumblebee" went into the nickname scrap heap.  

Over the weeks/months/years that followed, we auditioned other special names for you.  "Boo-Boo." "Pumpkin." "Pollywog." "Jeep." "The Boss."  There was even an ill-advised (mercifully brief) flirtation with "Porkchop." 

The one that stuck, of course, was "Puss." You and I both know the story behind that one.

As much as I've enjoyed saddling you with cute! quirky! fun! monikers, over the years   --  “Jamantha,” anyone? “Jaymeroo?”  “Polyester Fiberfill?”   --  the names that have been the most entertaining have been the ones you've invented for yourself.  "Dr. Jones." "Dee-Dee." "Good Gir."  "More-EEN, The Avon Lady."  The infamous mid-90's switch from "Jamie" to "Jaymi" (with which  --  truth be told  --  I'm still trying to make peace).   For twenty-nine years, you've constantly managed to find new and fascinating ways to reinvent yourself.  And you've given yourself the names to match.

But this year you really outdid yourself, didn't you?

I doodle your new, married name at odd hours of the day and night  ...  when I'm on hold with PG&E, while I'm waiting for my Lean Cuisine Sesame Chicken to finish nuking, when I'm updating a grocery shopping list.  It's still feels very new, and I'll admit to an occasional moment of disconnect, still. Who in the world is Jaymi Polen-Palmer??  (If it makes you feel any better, it's pretty much the same way I felt when I got your hospital birth certificate in the mail. Who in the world is Jamie Lynn Polen?)  When I look at your new, married name, doodled in the margins of my notepad, I think of all the other Jaymi/Jamies you have been, over the years, and I feel a twinge of *sad* for days passed, for opportunities missed, for little girls with toy stethoscopes dangling around their necks, for tiny round pink balls of newborn blobitude.  But mostly tonight, as I sit here looking at your new, married name, there's a feeling of pride, and of joy for you both, and of YES OK RELIEF (that you've married someone you LOVE, someone who loves you for YOU, someone who has your back no matter what)  ....  and most of all a deep, deep, unchanging love, for you, for my perfect unique wonderful daughter, for always.

No matter what name you're going by.

Happy Birthday,
*Mrs. Palmer.*
I love you with all my heart!


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of course, we could always revisit "bumblebee." IF you're interested.