That’s Not My Name and That’s OK

I used to think walking was merely a way to get from point A to point B or to exercise. Sometimes both. When I’m alone, I’m plugged into my iPod. When I’m with a friend, we talk. A walk is a walk is a walk…until I walked with Claire.

The girl doesn’t know it, but she always knows exactly what to do and say to put things in perspective.

This morning we decided to walk uptown to the post office and library. She put on her Dora sneakers and tan jacket, and I surprised her with new purple mittens with hearts and rainbows I bought her on winter clearance. This made her very happy.

I put on my pink backpack loaded with the envelopes that needed to be mailed, my phone and some money since I was pretty sure I had library fines to reconcile. Claire put on her Dora backpack.

The weather was lovely – sunny and about 40 degrees when we started walking. Sidewalks are inconsistent for the first few blocks, so we cut down an alley to avoid street traffic. As we passed a garage, Claire asked, “Where’d my shadow go?”

“What, honey?” I asked.

She stopped. “My shadow, Grammy.”

Shadow? But of course! I haven’t thought about my shadow since I was a kid, except to maybe avoid looking at it when I was obese.

“It’s hidden by the garage,” I told her. “Let’s move back into the sunshine.”

“There it is! It’s big!” she said. “You have a big shadow, too, Grammy!” and she waved. “See my hand?”

I waved back with both hands. She giggled.

“I see your fingers in the shadow,” she said.

When we turned the corner we were back on a sidewalk and our shadows were in front of us. Claire hopped over each crack for the rest of the block, thrilled that her shadow kept up with her.

We got to a corner at which we had to cross a street. I was holding her hand and was just going to walk her across when it dawned on me that I could teach her how to properly cross a street.

“Always stop before walking out on to the street,” I said. “Look to your left. Do you see a car coming?”

Looking very concentrated, she peered down the street. “No,” she said seriously.

“Now look to your right. Any cars?”


“OK, that means we can cross safely.”

We walked down a street I’ve walked for years, but I’d never really noticed that the Purinton’s house was blue or the rental next door had green trim until Claire pointed it out. Then she spied tiny purple flowers in the next yard.

“Oooo! Those are crocuses,” I told her.

“Crocheches,” she repeated. Close enough.

I wouldn’t have noticed them on an ordinary walk. I notice them in my own yard because I’m looking for them, but crocuses are even better when you’re not seeking them out and spectacular when you unexpectedly get to introduce them to a 2-year-old who loves the colors purple and green.

“I run real fast, Grammy!” and she took off. I kept up by walking more briskly, but it was fun to let her get to the next house a little before I did.

We were getting close to another corner and she took my hand. We stopped, she looked both ways, and we walked safely across.

We went to the post office first, which is next door to the library. I handed the envelopes to the mail clerk. Claire said, “I want to see,” so I lifted her up to sit on the counter.

“I like your mittens,” said the clerk. Claire’s shy and so she just smiled and looked down at the hearts and rainbows.

“Can she have a lollipop?” he whispered to me. I nodded.

“Would you like a lollipop?” he asked Claire.

“Yes,” she said rather boldly, and I thought, Yeah, I’ve always preferred candy over compliments, too.

She reached in the bag and pulled out a small chocolate flavored Tootsie-Pop. She’s definitely my granddaughter.

“What do you say?” I asked her.

“Thank you,” she said staring at her mittens again, but he heard her.

“You’re welcome,” he said.

She insisted I open the wrapper before we left the post office and I didn’t want her to bring it into the library, so we sat on a bench out front and she ate her lollipop.

“A black truck,” she pointed to the street. “That’s Papa’s truck.” Her dad’s dad is Papa and drives a pickup.

“No, that’s not Papa’s truck, but it looks like it,” I said.

“That’s a red car,” she continued and crunched her lollipop.

“Hear that?” she asked.

“That’s a blue jay,” I said.

“Blue jay,” she repeated and took another bite of her lollipop.

Watching Claire observe the world around her – the world I’ve very much taken for granted – this Ting-Tings song came into my head:

They call me girl
They call me Stacey
They call me her
They call me Jane

That’s not my name
That’s not my name
That’s not my name
That’s not my name

They can call me Emily. They can call me Shawna. But that’s not my name. I’m Grammy. I’m Mom. I’m Lynn. I know who I am. I know how I lost weight. I could spend all kinds of money fighting these bogus websites illegally using my images only to find other sites doing the same thing. Or I can let it go and live in the world around me. My real world.

I have a shadow. The crocuses are blooming. I’m teaching Claire how to cross the street and what a blue jay sounds like. People can believe what they want about my images. I know what’s true. Nothing else matters.

(By the way, “That’s Not My Name” is a spiffy workout song.)

15 thoughts on “That’s Not My Name and That’s OK

  1. Lynn, I was sorry to hear that others are illegally using your images to promote bogus weight loss products. That makes me mad that they would do that to you, who have shared so much and have inspired so many of us to make real, sensible, lasting changes for our health. Seems to me to be pretty stupid of them to use photos of someone whose weight loss story is so much in the public record.

    That said, I'm glad that you have come to some peace with what's going on. Little kids are a great influence when it comes to living in the present moment, that's for sure.

  2. Leave it to an innocent child to show us how to “see” again… wow, what a wonderful story. I am glad you are finding peace about the situation with those stealing your images.

    Life is short… and Claire reminds us to keep the joy and wonder. Loved reading this.


  3. That was just beautiful. You write in a such an authentic and touching way. Definitely does bring tears because it is so real.

    I am one of the readers who became so upset over your stolen images. I am sorry. You certainly have a way of putting things in perspective.


  4. The bee's knees 🙂 I like that.

    Debbie, I'm sorry you miss your granddaughter so much. Will you get a day with her like that sometime?

    I'm still happy with my decision. It just feels right. And I'm glad you all support that. You know who I am, relatively speaking 🙂 It's all good. Worst case scenario…I turn up as someone else from somewhere else claiming god-knows-what diet “aid” helped them lose 400 pounds. I still know what's true.

  5. Lynn, you are such a good writer. I just love your stories.

    I'm glad you're letting it go. Eventually it will catch up to them.

    About 10 years ago Toyota ripped me off big time–had to do with not honoring a recall. I tried for a little while to fight it and then finally gave up. So you know what I am saying now…couldn't happen to a nicer company.

  6. Hi Lynn,

    I just found your blog while surfing around the net. You have some great content that makes interesting reading!

    I am an avid health/weight loss writer and researcher and I manage several health related websites. So I thought I would send you a quick email and ask if you would be interested in exchanging links with me? We can use 2 of my websites to create a 3-way link exchange for maximum benefit to both of us. All of my websites are high quality and international.

    If you're interested in doing this, please let me know. Thanks 🙂


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