I was waiting to pick up our family meal deal from Daphne’s Greek Café the other night when I heard someone call me. They said, “Sarah, come here Mija.” (Pronouced: Mee-Hah). I quickly realized that this mother wasn’t talking to me, but in a flash, I was catapulted back to my childhood.
Now, I have always been very fond of my proper name. Sarah. Though Josh will occasionally call me “Sar” (pronounced: Care except with an S “Sare”), you will note that as a rule, the name Sarah is never really shortened like Jennifer to Jen or Kristine to Kris. In addition my name doesn’t rhyme with anything so no could tease me with a double name like “Jill the pill” or “Kris the Priss.” (I just made those names up off the top of my head. I don’t actually know a pill named Jill or a priss named Kris). In Middle school, someone once called me “Sarah Mascara” but obviously it never really took off. Now and then people try to sing “Que Sera, Sera” but the bulk of my name association comes from the 1986 hit “Sara” made famous by the band “Starship.” Most of you know the song… “Sarah – Sa-arah. No time is a good time for good-byes.” People sing that song to me ALL THE TIME!
My brother’s name is Peter. I can only imagine that there is quite a bit of teasing for a Jr. High boy named Peter. I remember as a kid, there was a big “Peter Pan Peanut Butter” ad campaign which included some sort of silly dance and a little jingle. People sang that song to my brother incessantly when he was a kid and he hated it.
For the first several years of my life my parents didn’t call me Sarah as you might imagine. Instead, they addressed me with Mexican accents….”Sarah” in Spanish is pronounced “Sah-da” (said quickly, accent on the “Sah”) . When they didn’t call me by my name, they used the traditional “Mija” ( “Mee-Hah”). I remember asking my mom what it meant and understanding it to mean something like “my little girl” which I guess is the general essence of it. When I got into my first Spanish class in high school, I learned that the actual term is “Mi Hija” – two words (ME Ee-hah). I felt like a real reject of a Mexican because so many years had passed before the PLRWM grasped that what my folks had been saying for all those years was really two different words merged together.
I’m not exactly sure when this happened but at some point I got a little insecure about “Sah-da” in front of my friends. I don’t think I ever said anything about it to my parents but they must have sensed it or come to the realization on their own. My mom remembers coming to the realization on her own earlier than I recall. I feel like my name change from “Sah-da” to “Sarah” happened around the same time my parents were getting divorced. Such an awkward time for me hearing my parents say “Sarah” like white people. I wonder if that’s what Sarai felt like when God changed her name to Sarah….probably not.
Today my mom is super cute because she always writes “Mija” on all the love notes she writes me, even on mother’s day cards to me! Ha ha! I guess a girl is always a “mija” to her own mother no matter how old she gets.
My daughter’s name also cannot be shortened but you will enjoy knowing that you can rearrange her letters and spell the word ‘stinker’ 🙂 and boy to adore my little stinker!