I don’t think there was a name that could be LESS unique than “Melissa” during my growing-up years. 

I, simply, went to school with 5 other “Melissa’s” in my grade and the one below me….and that was just the ones I was “friends” with…I’m sure there were at least two more!

Oddly, I think, we all had different middle names.  There was Kay (mine), Anne (my best friend’s), Mae, Sue…and a slew of others that I can’t remember right now.  But we all were separate ONLY by our middle names.

I remember loving my name when I was younger and not knowing it was “Melissa”.  I was “Missy”.  No one called me anything but that except for an elderly couple that watched us between the time that we were done with school and Mom got home.  To the elderly gentleman (Walter…God love him and bless him in Heaven!) I was always “Mitzy”. 

When I was in 5th grade, I made my first and only switch in schools.  I went from a small-town school (I started school in a “township” school in the country!) to a mid-sized school for our area.  It was then that I became “Melissa”. 

I was called “Michelle” more times than I care to remember, once I’d gotten into the larger school.  I guess I must look like one, or something?!?  Or maybe it was because there were just so many “Melissa”s?  Either way, it became annoying to me very quickly.  We all tried all kinds of variations.  Mom boiled when I wanted to try out “Mel” because it didn’t seem as “old” as “Melissa” but not as “young” as “Missy”.  But she let me…..and soon the interest waned and I was back to either “Melissa” or “Missy”.

By the time I graduated from high school, though, there was one other “Melissa” who was like a sister to me.  I’m blessed to still have her as a friend.  But, even more so than when we were in school, finding our own identity became a struggle.

She was “Missy” or “Mitzy” to her family and friends.  I was “Missy” almost exclusively to anyone who knew me outside of school.  We came to a compromise after one of her friends put me in touch with her cousin…and we started meeting her “Melissa’s house”.   I was “Missy” and she was the hybrid, “Missa”.  It kept us separate, but able to still be ourselves.

Almost 15 years later she’s still “Missa” to our family and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen her sis-in-law call her that, too, even when I’m not around!  I’m still “Missy”….I’ve come to love the name that used to make me feel “like a kid”.   At home (around her Dad and step-mom, etc) she’s “Missy”, too….but when we’re together, she’s “Missa” and I’m “Missy”.  And that’s just how it’s supposed to be, I think.  It fits perfectly.  It feels right.  It’s life as it should be. 

And I’m so glad that “Missa” is mine! 😉

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