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Old 02-19-2014, 09:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry you had to experience that. Once you've made up your mind about this issue and future actions in this vein, hopefully you will be able to just let it roll off your back. Possibly he doesn't understand what affect his behavior is having.

Oh, yes!  This whole process right now is about working through feelings so I can avoid any long-term resentment. I definitely don't think FIL has any idea that I was nearly as bothered as I am and I do plan to either resolve it or get over it. ;-)  

 

What I really need is time to have a chat and a vent with my DH about this but it's a busy week for both of us. 


Venting and talking with my online friends is working in the meantime. I love Mothering for a vent that I can't have IRL. :love


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Old 02-19-2014, 09:58 AM
 
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I do not plan to keep it w/o getting permission from my FIL, however. Not because I am all that worried about his wishes (because I honestly don't even think this was a deeply held wish and I don't believe it is a tradition - I think he made this up on the spot) but because I wouldn't want to keep it from my nephew if my nephew thought he was going to have it. 

 

Wow. That was really tactless and, of course, also doesn't even make sense. I was picturing him making a general comment about it getting passed to a male, but specifying people? And specifying a mixture of genders, so it's not even a males-only rule but some sort of weird 'your children don't get to inherit' rule?? I can't make sense out of that at all. Bizarre (and very unpleasant, because it now seems that he isn't basing this on a general males-only rule but is making specific calls about whom he does or doesn't want to get it and expects you to go along with your daughters being excluded from this.)

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Old 02-19-2014, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow. That was really tactless and, of course, also doesn't even make sense. 

Yea. It was definitely that. One good thing that I can see coming out of me finding a way to get FIL to clarify his intentions is that it will remind him that he should be more tactful with this stuff. They have this huge collection of things and they are focused on the process of passing it on to their kids/grandkids. My guess is that without FIL realizing the potential for hurt feelings, that he will eventually offend everyone. Certainly not what you want associated with the passing of heirlooms and family gifts. I may not come out smelling like a rose, but I am doing FIL a huge favor, whether he realizes it or not.  


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Old 02-19-2014, 10:32 AM
 
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Then this is probably a really thing for him to do. Maybe he shouldn't be doing it at all. You could suggest that with the loving sharing family that you are, he doesn't need to do this. He can just allow discussions and decisions along with reminiscence to happen after he is gone.

 

If he has to get rid of stuff, though, maybe he could do it more privately, using each gift as a chance to connect with the family member who is receiving it. A third idea is to invite the family as a group to discuss and select some things with him. This was done with one of our family groups. Grandma said "yes" or "no, that's for John" or "no, I want to keep that for now" as the family selected things, and we all shared stories and snacks during the afternoon.

 

So maybe FIL could use some help with this transition.

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Old 02-19-2014, 01:58 PM
 
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It's a photo? Take it to a shop you trust and have them make you some high quality copies on acid free photo paper. The original goes to the next male in line, just as it should and other males in the family can have a copy of the heirloom. Then, having done more than your part, rest easy!
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, but copies have already been made - this is specifically about passing of the original.

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Old 02-19-2014, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Had a chat with DH. He's not sentimental about the photograph and since it needs so much restoration (it's mounted to a dry, crumbling board) and since our house has a huge amount of humidity and temp fluctuation, we decided to give it to his brother to properly restore. It's in such poor condition that it really needs its next long-term keeper to make some hard choices about how to restore it.

 

I also had a chance to ask DH to pay better attention to his father when his father gives us stuff. He agrees that our family should only have things that we can pass on as we see fit when that time comes.  

 

I feel more settled and the condition of the photograph is really a blessing because it's a good reason for us to not have it. We do not have the time to dedicate to restoration and it will be a nice project for DH's brother's family. Phew! 


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Old 03-13-2014, 12:57 AM
 
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I have a necklace that originally belonged to my great-grandmother, given to her by her parents on her 13th birthday. She gave it to my grandmother on HER 13th birthday. My grandmother had three daughters and a son. Her son is my father. She skipped her kids' generation filled with girls and gave it to me on my 13th birthday. smile.gif

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Old 03-13-2014, 07:08 AM
 
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My father has a clock that has been passed down to the eldest male in the family for at least 3 generations so far. It is currently his. At one time, when my brother had only daughters, and it seemed very unlikely he would have more children, I asked my dad what was to be done with the clock. He pointed out that tradition was great, but the clock was HIS to give. He could give it to whomever, and after that, they could give it to whomever they wanted. 

 

The point is now moot, because my brother has a new wife, an un-done vasectomy, and a 3 year old son. So I guess it'll stay "in the family" afterall. 

 

 

Which brings up an interesting point. Do people feel more connected to "sides" of family that they share a name with? 


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Old 03-13-2014, 11:49 AM
 
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OK, I do not really see the big deal.  Maybe because there are multiple family heirlooms in my family that have been passed down, and some of them have very specific guidelines.  For example, there are a few things that my grandfather wanted passed down from oldest son to oldest son, but he predeceased both his sons.  It went to his eldest son's son.  If he does not have a male heir, it will go to his male cousin's upon his death. We also have jewelry that has been passed down from oldest daughter to oldest daughter on her 18th birthday.  My mom was the only girl, so it came to me.  My daughter has a severe anoxic brain injury, and will never have children.  I will also not have any more.  I chose to give the ring to my sister on her daughter's first birthday.  That way here daughter will see her wearing it as she grows up, and it will go to my niece on her 18th birthday.  Technically, I could have kept it for my niece, but I thought it would mean more coming from her mom.  Our family has several items that have specific measures for being passed down, I have never felt like it was a big deal, even if it does skip people.


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Old 03-13-2014, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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anj_rn, for me the issue is complicated by a few things (shared up thread) but even without the complications, I don't really want something in my home that I am not trusted to know what to do with when it comes time to pass it on. I do understand tradition but in my family tradition is not shared in terms of directives. Some objects have a "story" and it is expected that the keeper of the object will honor the story when they pass it on, based on their own unique interpretation and connection to the story. This is how I think things should be done.  

 

But, mainly, there are so many other complicating factors. The biggest being that the next oldest son in my DH's family is very confusing thing to establish and it involves a value judgment about biological heritage and how we embrace step-children that I am not willing to interpret for my FIL long after his death.  Also, I just will not hang art in my home that I can't give to my own children should they become attached to it, as their grandfather did.  


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Old 03-13-2014, 08:30 PM
 
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I think your plan is perfect! 


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This reminds me of the book Run by Ann Patchett. There is a family in the book that has passed down this little statue of the Virgin Mary from generation to generation. The girl in each generation who most resembles the statue gets it. But then the last woman to get it only has sons, and then dies, and her widower is asserting his sons, who sleep with the statue on their dresser because it reminds them of their mother, should have a claim on the statue despite not being girls and not even being blood relatives (two African American boys, adopted into an Irish Catholic family). I forget how it resolves though. 

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Old 03-14-2014, 07:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This reminds me of the book Run by Ann Patchett. There is a family in the book that has passed down this little statue of the Virgin Mary from generation to generation. The girl in each generation who most resembles the statue gets it. But then the last woman to get it only has sons, and then dies, and her widower is asserting his sons, who sleep with the statue on their dresser because it reminds them of their mother, should have a claim on the statue despite not being girls and not even being blood relatives (two African American boys, adopted into an Irish Catholic family). I forget how it resolves though. 

Oh, sounds like a lovely story line. And, yea, that's part of it for me. I am quite a bit younger than my DH. I expect to live a lot longer than him. I expect to become attached to things that feel a part of him. I expect my kids will too.  

 

 

A WHOLE 'nother layer to this is that I do not feel attached to the tradition of patrilineal name giving. I regret giving both of my children their father's last name. I kept my name and wish I had given one child my last name and the other my DH's last name. I do not have expectations about whether my kids will keep their own name or what they will name their children. I plan on sharing with them (if and when the time comes) that I regretted making my decisions about that based on "what's done" and will encourage them to make more thoughtful decisions about that. 

 

The expectations of how this picture has been passed on to us contains a lot of assumptions about the choices this next generation will make in regards to the name-giving tradition. It's a set of expectations that I don't want to be a part of. 


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Old 03-14-2014, 08:53 AM
 
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On the line of patrilineal name giving, if you don't mind I take it to a tangent:

 

In my father's family of origin, there are six children. 2 girls and 4 boys. If we are concerned about who carries the family name, things look pretty bleak.  Despite families of some size (2-4 kids each, with grandkids, too) there is only one male grandchild who will carry on the original name, assuming traditions of taking a husband's name continue. In my generation of cousins, all male cousins had daughters-- 3 each!  Only one of my uncles has sons. So out of a crop of 21 great grandchildren (so far) only one carries on the name. 

 

At this point, I think I should have given my kids my last name as a second middle name. or, as other cultures do, with a hyphenated last name. But that, too, is an interesting thought, as I want to be tied to my family of origin, but not to my mother's family name...


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Old 03-14-2014, 09:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, it's so interesting to think of, especially with rapidly changing traditions and smaller family size. My own mother's last name is now extinct. She only has one brother and he only had daughters who, so far are not using the matrilineal last name for their children. And, yes, your point about me feeling badly about not using my last name contains in it the dilemma that I would only be honoring my father's side (I have my father's last name) in doing so. Come to think of it, this is the same for my DH's mother's family. The end of her last name on her side as well. 

 

I certainly can understand some level of grief over that...but that is part of why I think (and agree with you) that the focus should be on heritage and family relationships over last name. And, of course, as we get into blended families and etc. I think it's important to move away from biological origins as well because I don't think biology is much of an indicator of a person's attachment and love of a family.  


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Old 03-14-2014, 12:16 PM
 
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Both my parents have died now and they (especially my Mom's side of the family) were huge savers. They weren't quite hoarders, but it seemed close when I was cleaning out the house. There are a lot of things that are very, very old, but have lost some of their value because while Mom told me some of the stories associated with the objects she didn't tell me all of them, some of them were probably my Dad's to tell, and some I probably forgot. She wrote some details down with items, some photos have info on the back, or a note attached to the bottom of a chair, etc. I know a lot of families, especially of more recent immigrants to this country, don't have a lot of family heirlooms, but even though my brother and sister and I split it all up equally I frankly feel completely overwhelmed by it all. We have baby bonnets from the 1800s that belonged to some ancestor, but I don't know who, furniture from the same era, portraits and photos, and lots and lots of quilts (which actually are fairly well documented because I did a paper on them in college). Sometimes I feel like I should open up a museum. I appreciate the stuff, but I don't want it all in my everyday life. It's filling my garage and basement right now. I have a few pieces in my living room, a child's rocking chair from around 1900, two antique children's desks, etc. A lot of the stuff I kept, I kept because my mom kept it, and she kept it because her mom kept it, and her mom kept it, etc. While no one handed anything down to me with any particular restrictions on it, I do feel somewhat burdened by a lot of it, but at the same time can't bring myself to get rid of some of it. (I did get rid of a lot of the less significant stuff.)

 

As far as names, few of us have a matrilineal naming heritage. There's a blessing way ceremony where the women participating go around and name themselves and all their women ancestors, like Jennifer, daughter of Susan, daughter of Betty, daughter of Helen, daughter of Eudora, daughter of Anna, daughter or Rebecca, etc, as far back as they can go. I took my husband's last name. He didn't have strong feelings about it and threw out the idea of him taking my name, but I actually don't have quite as strong of an attachment to my Dad's last name as I do to my Mom's maiden name. My Dad's last name was pretty common (think Williams, Johnson, etc) and DH's was slightly more unusual. I am glad to share a name as a family. I have friends who have chosen new last names for their families and that seems cool, but seems like you would lose a little bit of the history that way. Our names didn't work well together hyphenated so I don't think we ever really considered that. I did keep my maiden name as part of my id (on my emails, etc) like Hilary Rodham Clinton. My dd2 has my maiden name as her middle name.

 

I do regret not using my mom's maiden name somewhere (it's a nice attribute like Grace,  Love, etc), but my dd1 is named after my mom (first name) and using her maiden name too seemed a little much. My sister used it as her dd's middle name and it is also my sister's middle name.

 

Both my Dad's and my Mom's last names will cease to be used as last names within our extended family unless one of my cousin's daughters decides to keep her last name (my  mom's maiden name) when/if she gets married and when/if she has kids. My brother has no kids and my sister and I both took our husbands' last names. My mom's brother had two sons, but only one had kids and he had two girls.

 

I think I may have completely taken this thread off topic now...


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Old 03-14-2014, 12:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think I may have completely taken this thread off topic now...

I love it!  No worries at all from me. I'm really enjoying how everyone is sharing. 

 

I understand what you're saying about keeping things and then feeling burdened by them. My DH brought home a lot of misc. things from his grandmothers home when she passed away. A few things were specifically given to him/me/us but there were a few boxes that DH just took because he thought I'd like them. I was conflicted about not keeping some of it but it was a lot of stuff that would have otherwise gone to Goodwill so I decided to allow myself to give away a few things. 

 

Two of my grandmothers passed away the summer we moved "back home". At the time we had an empty house (our furniture hadn't arrived) and the contents of my grandmother's home was delivered to my garage. That was interesting. After everyone came and took what they wanted to have I was left with just.so.much.stuff.. What I ended up loving is so odd. For instance, I have my grandmother's stapler. I love it for some reason...and it's just a regular stapler. I also kept her rolling pin, which no one wanted. I notice a tinge of jealousy when my mom comes over that I chose to keep the rolling pin. Something wonderful happens when something gets passed down and then cherished by a new family. It changes and has new/different value. 

 

The picture from the OP would see that happen, I'm sure. Properly restored, re-framed, and presented in a modern way, it will be absolutely lovely and new life will be breathed into it. 


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Old 03-22-2014, 01:39 PM
 
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Yes, it's so interesting to think of, especially with rapidly changing traditions and smaller family size. My own mother's last name is now extinct. She only has one brother and he only had daughters who, so far are not using the matrilineal last name for their children. And, yes, your point about me feeling badly about not using my last name contains in it the dilemma that I would only be honoring my father's side (I have my father's last name) in doing so. Come to think of it, this is the same for my DH's mother's family. The end of her last name on her side as well. 

I certainly can understand some level of grief over that...but that is part of why I think (and agree with you) that the focus should be on heritage and family relationships over last name. And, of course, as we get into blended families and etc. I think it's important to move away from biological origins as well because I don't think biology is much of an indicator of a person's attachment and love of a family.  

In the South, it is not uncommon to use these "leftover" family surnames as kid's first names. I personally know kids named ******, Stark, Gibbs, Brooks and Farris... all honoring the surnames that would be "lost" to time through marriage otherwise.

I also know women who give their kids their own last name as an automatic middle name to honor their family when they chose to keep their husband's name. So my friend Rebecca has three kids both genders.. all with the automatic middle name that was her surname. I won't say the specific name here for privacy but it is a fairly common name like Jones or ******.
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Old 03-22-2014, 03:09 PM
 
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The thing for me is that "staying out of it" is difficult because I'm a really visual persona and my home is full of art that has meaning to me. To have something hanging on my walls  that is a symbol of my DH's family and a tradition started by my FIL that reflects something about gender bias that I feel badly about...this is something that is difficult for me to reconcile. 

By "law" I thought we were talking about the "law" of etiquette. As of now and for the foreseeable future we do not have a will that is going to parcel out items in our home to anyone other than our children. FIL is SOL when it comes to any effort my part to be sure that his heirlooms legally pass to who he picks. For this, I do very much wish he would just give the item to the person he wants to eventually have it. 

At this point, I am considering asking FIL to clarify exactly what he expects will happen to this and if I am not comfortable with that, I may just mail the thing to the person he eventually wants to have it. I just don't see me making a healthy connection with this thing if it is going to be passed in a way that I feel is disrespectful of my children and I do not want to have something like that in my home. 

It is not yours to mail to anyone. It is your husband's. It is not about you making a connection to it, or you making a plan about what to do with it. That is for the owner of the heirloom - currently your husband - to decide. If your mother left you a piece of heirloom jewelry and yor dh did not like the style, should he decide to mail it to your sister?
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Old 03-22-2014, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I do appreciate that opinion but it was given to "us". I do sort of get the perspective that I should just stay out of it...but I've got to admit that this feels a lot like me deciding that this is my DH's family. In many, MANY ways this would be the easier way for me to approach the entire relationship. And, who knows, I may end up taking that approach at some point but for now I consider myself part of their family and I know that in most ways that's what they want as well.  

 

The jewelry analogy doesn't fit because I do have some of my mother's jewelry and my DH has not been given an instructions about who he should give it to should I pass away before him. Neither have I. And we also have plenty of family furniture (one thing especially treasured by my family). Again, my DH has not been instructed to be sure to give it to a "member of the family" when I die. Because, honestly, no one in my family would dream of that sort of thing. "Oh, you know that beautiful chest that sat in your living room for 50 years that you have likely grown quite fond of...well, now that your wife is dead, we'd like that back now so we can give it to a member of....'the family'."  Nope, would NOT fly. 


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Old 03-24-2014, 11:10 AM
 
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I do appreciate that opinion but it was given to "us". I do sort of get the perspective that I should just stay out of it...but I've got to admit that this feels a lot like me deciding that this is my DH's family. In many, MANY ways this would be the easier way for me to approach the entire relationship. And, who knows, I may end up taking that approach at some point but for now I consider myself part of their family and I know that in most ways that's what they want as well.  

The jewelry analogy doesn't fit because I do have some of my mother's jewelry and my DH has not been given an instructions about who he should give it to should I pass away before him. Neither have I. And we also have plenty of family furniture (one thing especially treasured by my family). Again, my DH has not been instructed to be sure to give it to a "member of the family" when I die. Because, honestly, no one in my family would dream of that sort of thing. "Oh, you know that beautiful chest that sat in your living room for 50 years that you have likely grown quite fond of...well, now that your wife is dead, we'd like that back now so we can give it to a member of....'the family'."  Nope, would NOT fly. 

The point about the jewelry is not the specification about who receives it, it is that the jewelry would be yours, not your husband's. Just as the picture in question belongs to your husband, not to you.
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:57 AM
 
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I haven't read all the posts but I have a daughter and bil has a son and it could have been me in your position. It's just not fair but life is not fair. I actually see the bias every single day. Personally, I'd hate to have an item like that in my house but I'd have to ignore it or have dh return it.

 

Good luck with whatever you decide.


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Old 03-25-2014, 01:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by philomom View Post



I also know women who give their kids their own last name as an automatic middle name to honor their family when they chose to keep their husband's name. So my friend Rebecca has three kids both genders.. all with the automatic middle name that was her surname. I won't say the specific name here for privacy but it is a fairly common name like Jones or ******.

my mom did this and I actually really disliked it and would rather have had a middle name that was a traditional female first name, so I didn't opt to do this with my kids. But of course others have had different experiences. 

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Old 03-25-2014, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by choli View Post


The point about the jewelry is not the specification about who receives it, it is that the jewelry would be yours, not your husband's. Just as the picture in question belongs to your husband, not to you.

Oh, I see what you mean now. My DH does have many little things or personal items that are from his family that have been given to him specifically. I haven't given much thought to what I'd do with them. This photo felt like something that was given to us as a family but I certainly may have been mistaken. 

 

I've so appreciated everyone's opinions and the space to vent!  I said up thread that we've decided to give the photo to DH's brother to restore for his son. It's boxed up safely for whenever they come visit next.  


Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by erigeron View Post

my mom did this and I actually really disliked it and would rather have had a middle name that was a traditional female first name, so I didn't opt to do this with my kids. But of course others have had different experiences. 

We are all hostage to what our parents name us. Me and my two siblings all have variations of my dad's first name. They thought it was cute! I thought and still think it was dreadful. I go by a cute nickname and my sister changed the spelling of hers. My brother got stuck with his because he's a junior. I loathe the junior thing.

Sigh, if I loved them less I would have changed my name long ago.
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