Saturday, March 23, 2019

Name Doodle Evolution

I'm 4-years-old, and I'm in our basement drawing on my chalkboard easel. I'm sketching out people and houses and a car (that looks nothing like a car).   Then my Dad asks me if I can write my name.  I scrawl the letters individually... but in the wrong order.   I make the "N" - then jump to the other side of the board to make my "I".  I make all my letters and Dad says I did a good job.  I'm proud of myself.

I'm older now.  Caught in that odd age where I'm still playing with dolls... but starting to get interested in boys.  I'm in my room playing with two dolls that my Grandma Betty gave me.  One doll is named Stacey, and Grandma crocheted her a beautiful purple dress.  The other doll, Charlotte, has a matching dress in pink.  I'm sitting on the floor with a notebook, doodling out the names of the dolls.  Stacey is a blonde, so I give her the last name of a light-haired boy in my class that I like.  Charlotte has jet black hair, so she gets the last name of a DIFFERENT boy that I think is pretty cute.   

Jump ahead to high school.  I'm sitting at the kitchen table, practicing signing my name on a scrap of paper.  My mom dug out my social security card, and she tells me it's time to sign it. I'm getting ready to start my first real job, and I have to bring it along with some other paperwork. I'm nervous that I'm going to mess up when I write on it.  My signature is fat and bubbly and barely fits on that tiny line.

Now I'm sitting in my new office, in an entirely different state than I grew up in. It's almost time to punch out for the day, and I'm just killing time.  I fish a piece of paper out of the recycling bin and start doodling what's going to be my "new" name.  I've just gotten engaged, and everything feels exciting.  Signing a different last name than I've written my entire life looks really odd.  I keep practicing.

Fast-forward a little bit, and I'm sitting at that same desk trying not to fall asleep during a conference call.  I start doodling names on the legal pad where I was taking notes.  Only this time, it's not my name.  It's the name we've chosen for the child growing in my belly. I print it.  I write it in cursive.  I write all three of our names together like I was signing a Christmas card or something.  "Love, us."  I think it looks pretty good.

Nearly 8 years later, I'm sitting next to my daughter, helping her "test out" the new metallic markers we just bought.  I start doodling my baby sister's name... and what her "new" name will be.  She's getting married in less than a week.  I laugh to myself and wonder if she's been doing the same thing recently.  I laugh again because, unlike her, I'm VERY thankful I didn't choose a partner that would require me to remember the correct way to make a cursive Z.

My daughter dismisses me from the "marker testing," so I re-read the document again. It's not a social security card, yet I'm still kind of worried I'm going to mess it up.  It's got some legalese, but it's pretty straight forward.  It's the contract for my first REAL piece of published writing.

No doodling this time, just signing.

(Hey, 4-year-old Nicole... I got all the letters in my name in the correct order. Dad wasn't watching when I signed it, but I think he'd still say good job.)

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