My given name is Kathleen. I have no middle name, much to my children’s amazement. (I tell them that I was the sixth child and my mom had run out of ideas by then!)
Growing up, everyone called me Katie.
There were some exceptions. The nuns called me Kathleen – no nicknames for them. And of course my mother called me Kathleen, but only when I was in trouble. Some teachers tried to shorten Kathleen to Kathy, thinking they would be nice. (They only did that once. When I didn’t answer, they caught on.)
Other than that, from grades 1-12, through grade school and high school, I was Katie. This was before the name became so popular. I was pretty much the only Katie around and I was very happy about that.
Round about college, I decided I wanted to be a journalist, and journalists just couldn’t be called Katie. Too cute, I decided.
I then renamed myself Kate. (Easy to do when no one knows you.) Kate sounded serious and no-nonsense.
And for 20 some years, I’ve been Kate. It’s served me well, through college, work, motherhood, new neighbors and friends, PTO meetings and teacher conferences.
Once in a while, I will get a call from an old friend. I laugh when my daughter hands me the phone with a bewildered look and says, “They want to talk to Katie?!”
Well, I’m thinking it’s about time for another change. I’ve matured (or at least I am trying to). Kathleen is calling to me. (I know my mother is up in heaven saying, “I told you one day you would love your name.”)
I’m just not quite sure how to go about introducing this name change. I am not moving, nor am I meeting new people. My friends are the same. I can just imagine the eye-rolling that will go on when I say, “I want to be called Kathleen from now on.”
“Who does she think she is?” they will whisper.
To which I will answer, “Kathleen”
That may work!