Last Fall, Little Hart came home from school - announcing in a strong, confident tone that she wanted to legally change her middle name to Mary after her deceased Grandma, Raylan's mother. Surprised, Raylan asked why she had decided on Mary? Little Hart responded that her and a friend were talking about possible middle names when he looked at her and said "What About Mary?"
"I just knew it Dad, I want my middle name to be Mary after Grandma." While my Hubby was moved and on board with Little Hart's request - he was only half of the equation - to legally change her name, Greta would have to agree.
When Little Hart was born, Greta wanted her to not have a middle name like her. The theory being that when Little Hart married later in life she would take her last name as her middle name. Ultimately for Greta, when she married a second time, she dropped her maiden name in favor of her Ex-Husband's last name for a middle name.
For as long as I can remember, not having a middle name has bothered Little Hart. The idea of not having one until she married has never been a great selling point to Miss Independent - I do things my way! Made even more of an issue that her two older sisters - Halle and Elle - had one.
Five years ago, Little Hart insisted that she get a middle name! To take the edge off the request we came up with a number of names that fit her personality to try on for size - LuLu Lemon (loves lemons), Stubbornness (she's totally stubborn), Louise (made her laugh), Sunny (she loves the sun)to name a few. The rotating middle name seemed to keep the issue at bay until last Fall.
Little Hart was only seven when her Grandma Mary passed away. Although Mary lived in another State which meant Grandma and Granddaughter only saw each other a handful of times a year, the two shared a strong connection. Raylan and I had witnessed their relationship firsthand - so the whole middle name idea seemed fitting.
After talking to us, Little Hart broached the subject with her Mom. A few days later, Little Hart shared that Greta was non-committal on the whole name change. Raylan suggested she give her Mom some time to wrap her head around the whole thing. If Raylan and I were surprised, I can only imagine the shock Greta felt when her daughter dropped the bombshell - I want a middle name - oh by the way I want it to be Mary like my Grandma.
For Greta the name change meant Little Hart would not be carrying on the tradition in her family of no middle name until marriage AND her new name would include that of her former Mother-in-law. Mary and Greta were not particularly close. Nor had Greta witnessed firsthand the strong bond between Grandma and Granddaughter since Raylan and Greta had separated before Little Hart was born.
A few months went by, Little Hart started asking daily about getting the name change rolling. Raylan suggested that he gather information on the legal process, but Little Hart would have to talk to her Mom again and get her blessing.
Little Hart shared with Greta how deeply connected she felt to Grandma Mary and how important it was to her to make the change legally. This time around Greta not only agreed to the name change, but was supportive of her daughter's decision to do so. An important distinction for a child of divorce.
Last week on the eighth anniversary of my Mother-in-law's death Little Hart legally became Little Hart Mary. I only wish my Mother in-law Mary could have been here to see her granddaughter not only be named after her, but to have her granddaughter on her own chose to take her name at the age of 15. An amazing tribute and act of love.
At the end of the day Little Hart's name change doesn't affect Raylan or Greta's daily life. Yet, it could have easily become a battle about Little Hart's loyalty to Mom or Dad, a debate about whose mother was more deserving of the middle name or I'll agree to the change, but I don't support it one bit. Which in a blended family is far worse for a child than saying NO!
Instead two divorced parents looked beyond their own feelings opting to focus solely on their daughter's strong emotional conviction to add a middle name that had tremendous meaning to her. Little Hart's parents joint support was the real gift she received last week.