None of the women in my immediate family have middle names. (For context, the men do; my extended family does too, mostly.) It used to be a point of contention for me; I used to long for an extra word to call my own. One car ride nearly two decades ago, probably, I declared I'd take my twin sister's name as my middle, if she would take mine as hers. If you know K., you can probably guess that she declined the offer. (Of the two of us, she's usually the one who tried to stray from the idea of our twinship, at least moreso than me.) I dropped the idea.

When my older sister named her children, those two munchkins who light up my life in ways I couldn't have comprehended, so much so that I worry I may never love my own hypothetical future children as much as I love them, she gave them middle names. She gave them with thought, with weight; a history.

Somehow the subject of middle names came up last weekend -- a family joke-fight (you know the kind) where my mom and my aunt bet on how their mother, my grandmother, spelled her middle name. (For the record, my aunt won. Sorry mom.) But isn't that funny, that my grandmother's daughters didn't even know for sure? A call to the eldest sister in Florida, my other aunt, had to be placed. Documents were unearthed. And finally, someone just called up my mom-mom and she solved the riddle herself. (As is the family way, there's more to the story; it turns out, she gave her middle name to her eldest daughter as a middle name too, but changed the spelling, so the confusion on all sides was justified.)

The outcome is, middle names are weird, but also beautiful in a family-history-is-neat-and-important kind of way, and now I'm considering taking her middle name as mine. Morgan Mae.

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