The other day I got a new insurance card. Someone — it appears it was actually in my school’s administrative office, not Blue Cross — decided that since I clearly was using a nickname on all of my work documents, I should be using my “real” name for my insurance. This person changed my name to Jennifer on my medical insurance documents.
This is wrong on so many levels; how dare someone do this when absolutely nothing in my file says Jennifer? I was named Jennie at birth and have remained Jennie throughout my entire life, except on occasions such as this when someone decided to be helpful.
With this in mind, I’d like to introduce you to the original Jennie, the great-grandmother after whom I was named. I am almost six months old in this photo with Grandma Jennie.
This photo reminds me of what the holiday means. It’s not about the petty annoyances of life such as a bureaucrat renaming me. It’s about the ongoing cords that bind us together. When I look into the face of my great-grandmother, I see glimpses of the beloved mother I lost this year. I can see Christmas ornaments on this simple Christmas tree that were passed down to me and are now on my tree. Even though my son never met the original Jennie, her hall tree holds pride of place in his home. I just had a rocker repaired that belonged to Grandma Jennie’s parents. I hope to rock my own grandchildren and great-grandchildren in that rocker some day, and I will tell them why my name is “just” Jennie.
Merry Christmas from my house to yours. May your family’s cords of love keep you together and safe in the coming year.