names like colors

“Mom, there are other people with my name,” Brandon told me yesterday. “In books or on shows, I see other Brandons.”

So I told him names, like colors, get used again and and again. I told him a name is a word we assign to someone as if it is his own, although it isn’t only his. Most names have many people who answer to them.

But there aren’t any other Holdens that either Brandon or Holden know of. “Some names, like Brandon, are more common and they get used more often,” I said.

Then Brandon wanted to know why he is called what he is and I explained his father picked his first name and I picked his middle name. And that Holden’s name isn’t as common because I picked Holden’s first name and their father picked his middle name and their father is more traditional and I’m closer to a hippie.

“How did you pick whose last name we would get?” Brandon asked and I smiled that he was asking the right questions, that he is a boy of the world. This wasn’t the way I had planned to raise him, but even still, he is turning out just fine.

There is more than one way to raise a child.

One thing I know is that we’re doing a hell of a job, the boys’ father and me. Although he is my ex-husband and I am his ex-wife, we get along nicely. We go out to eat with the boys and adjust our schedules so we can still both work and keep the kids out of daycare.

I explained to Brandon that my last name isn’t the same as his anymore, but it was once, before I took back the name I had been born with. I think he understood because he has learned this year that people don’t have to share a house or a name to be a family, that there is more than one way to be.


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