I love it when people say that only their mum calls them the name that appears on their birth certificate. It gets me thinking about the ludicrous number of nicknames and pet names I have acquired over the years, all with a special significance.
I think I have more than most, so here goes with just a few of them, and the associations that lie behind them.
Carrie and Cags were always reserved for close family members and Caz in school. When the ‘wrong’ person calls me Carrie, it still takes me aback.
CK, Carolina and Linie (pronounced Leenie) were acquired during my corporate working years. CK I liked for simplicity. Carolina always made me feel quite regal and I could imagine myself popping a crown on my head if I chose to use that name for more than a few hours. Linie I still get from a very close friend and I love it.
When I met my partner, he asked me what most people call me. I explained Caroline is the professional me and then if you get into the inner sanctum, Carrie is an option. Apparently, these did not quite hit the spot, despite serving me well for over 40 years. So, within a week of meeting him, I was officially christened Caro. Since then I have also acquired Cazarushaleven (pronounced Cazza-rush-a-lev-en) and occasionally Cic-Cic.
When I was writing this blog, I looked up the meaning of my actual name, Caroline. I found the loveliest description:
“She gives more than she receives
Her face is radiant when she is happy
She is good humoured and full of life
Her family love her warmth and special charm
Caroline is bright and knowledgeable
She is admired for her patient approach (sometimes!)
She enjoys sharing treasured memories
Organised, likes everything in its place”
I love my large collection of nicknames and how they mean something different to the people who gave them to me and signal the bond I have with them. But with a description like the one above, maybe it’s time to stick with good old Caroline?