When I was a little one I so badly wanted a nickname like Skipper or Sport. I remember so well trying to initiate it with little success. My mom wasn’t big on the idea and preferred to call us by our full names, Jennifer, Christina, Jessica. When I was in trouble (which was a lot, middle child and all!) I was CHRISTINA GENNE RYAN!!! Or when I really frustrated her, Mik,Jen, GOSH DAMMIT CHRISTINA!!! 😜 My Daddy (whom I still call Daddy, at the tender age of 39!) called me Chris and this was the name I referred to most of my youth. There were some years everyone called me Puny– a distant memory now as a curvy girl, because I was, well, puny. My sister Jenn called me Christina Ina Bina and Ina Bina. Sister Jessica & I called each other Fart Face & Purple Poop (I know, I know), My Grandma Ryan and cousins on my Dad’s side called me Chrissy, which I only allowed them to, ever. My Grandma Kochis called me her “Favorite Grandson” when we were all girls, until the first boy cousin came, Jeremiah, who called me ChrisCreeNa. And my bff and I pretended to be Stacey and Samantha for awhile. Then tried alternate spellings like “Khrystenuh” and “kris”. In track I ran like the wind and my Dad called me “Wheels”. But never Skipper or Sport….
When I met Isaac’s dad, he called me Christina and I liked the way it sounded. I watched myself morph into that name. Now when I hear Chris I always know it is someone from way back, and it makes me smile.
When life got tricky, my mom would occasionally refer to me as Little Miss Hope Springs Eternal.
But the best nickname I ever got was from a sweet little boy with funny wild hair who called me Mama and later, as he grew taller than me, sometimes, Little Mama. But until his last day, Mama.
He had a unique way of saying it, quick and sturdy at the same time. My favorite word besides his own name and the multitude of nicknames I gave him. Angel Baby, Little Boy, Isarelli, Isa Minelli, Iser, Iserman, Iser the Wiser, Wiseman, Buddha, Buddha Belly, Belly, Puppy, Sonny, Mister, Mister Man, Little Man,Sweet Boy, Sonshine, Punk, Pokey, Pokey Little Puppy, Speedy, Sweet Pea, Journey, Puberty, Ize, Punk Ass, Kid Rock, Kid, Bubba, Bubba Louie, Bubbaliscious, Little Prince… More that I can’t recall. And now, jokingly, My Own Personal Jesus, my angel, Mysaac.
Many of my framily, my friends family and tribe called me mama the way he said it. Some still do. Joshua does. But, it isn’t the same, though I don’t want anyone to stop. I am mama.
About a month or so before we lost Isaac, I changed my name on Facebook to Luna Laidlowe. The story of why/how isn’t all that exciting, but at that time, and perhaps even still, if you changed your name in fb you couldn’t change it for 60 days. Impulsive Christina liked that, but who could know that EVERYONE ON PLANET CHRISTINA would come to find out– those looking for me after hearing if Isaacs passing, who didn’t already know. Everyone would know. And who could know the life it would take on! It has now gotten to where folks call me Luna, to my face. It is at once my little girl dream come true (to be known by a nickname!) and also, a trip and a half. I answer to it! It is funny. I love it. I’m certain my sanity or atleast maturity has been called into question by more than one person, but, I don’t mind. Really, it ain’t no thang, no thang at all.
Cuz… Like I said, I got the best name ever when Isaac uttered it back in 1997 and never looked back.
But alla this, this hole long winded disclaimer post, is really something else all together… If I can remember….
Oh! Yes. I decided to explore Instagram. In part because I’m stepping into some fun new job descriptions at work, officially “Mead & Merriment Muse”, and liking titles, this new nickname and this job, really suit me at this time in my life. I would go so far to say as I, Christina Ryan-Stoltz, consider daily, embracing Workaholic as yet another new nickname. Go me. But, as I ventured into naming myself on Instagram, I found some interesting things. 1) I already had an Instagram name– mothertripper– the name taken from a book I loved when Isaac was small called The Mothertrip by Ariel Gore– 2) that when considering a new name to be identified in a new format as me now, and not mothertripper, that my instinct was to call myself A) Wild@heart B) Optimystic which told me some feelings stirring on my insides that I Was happy to find. I decided to stick with Luna Laidlowe. But those stirrings led me further into some self awareness.
I was then supposed to make a bio. A fucking bio! What should I write? Cuz who am I? I like words and titles and bios used to inspire me to describe myself and now… Well. No thanks. No. Thank. You. But…
But. Then I considered the date, today. And it occurred to me that in 6 months I will be forty. Oy. And yay! I’m leaning into forty with something yet discovered within me, but with anticipation. That’s cool. And I look back at October 25, 2014. And how much time has passed since I have shared space with my Isaac And the time from then grows distant as the time toward a new day for me, a new era, draws closer. It’s strange. It’s so sad. But it IS something else, too. And maybe grief or 40 or life without my beautiful boy isn’t only an absolutely desolate landscape of agony and despair. Maybe there’s more to life and to ME, Christina mama Luna muse, out there that I can call my own. Maybe there’s a place and a name for little ol’ curvy ol’ crazy ol’ sensitive ol’ wise ol’ OLD ol’ me…
And once again I find myself curious about that and that tells me far more than my fears do.