I am pregnant with my second child. We named our daughter after my husband’s sister who died from leukemia when he was a child. Now that we’re having a boy, I want to honor my father, who died when I was 17. My mother has taken this as a slight against her. When my father died, my mother immediately moved on and was remarried within the year. I reacted badly (I dumped paint on her boyfriend’s car when he moved in with us), and I wasn’t able to find some perspective until I was out of college.
My parents were not happy in their marriage. My mother and I reconnected when my daughter was born, and the last few times we flew out to see her and my stepfather, the visits were painless. Now I don’t even want to return her calls. She called me “thoughtless” and “ungrateful” for not thinking of her family and her feelings. She even went so far as to call my uncle and grandfather (who also recently died) “better men” than my father. My husband suggested we change our son’s middle name from my maiden name to my uncle’s or grandfather’s name as a peace offering. I don’t think I have it in me to offer my mother anything.
—Not Your Name