I was born twenty-three years ago on a Tuesday afternoon with all the pomp and circumstance one imagines would come with being the first grandchild on both sides of my family: a parade of relatives and friends, plenty of pictures, and lots of tears. I was ten days early, tiny, long-legged, and named after a Southern author whose works I wouldn’t read for another sixteen years.
I’ve always found the Tuesday part to be interesting. Part of this is because I always hated Tuesdays (partially because they were often violin lesson days, and I… was not very good at violin). Part of it is that old Mother Goose rhyme that I’ve always found so odd, as if the day on which you’re born can determine your fate: Monday’s child is fair of face; Tuesday’s child is full of grace; Wednesday’s child is full of woe… Well, someone clearly hated Wednesdays.
I always thought it was funny that my middle name was Grace. It felt like some sort of sign, like God or my parents had known ahead of time that yes, child–you, you will be filled right up with grace. You’ll have to be. When I was younger it felt like an impossibility: I was easily the clumsiest kid in my grade. Grace was a word I associated with ballerinas and soft piano music, not a long-legged pre-teen with braces and bruised knees. Humor has always been my coping mechanism, so I turned this fact of klutziness into a joke–It’s the biggest irony of my life, I’d say, that my middle name is Grace. I told my mom once that it felt like a curse: like she and dad had named me Grace and the world was determined to prove them wrong with every bruised elbow and skinned knee.
Well, she told me with a wry grin. If you can’t be graceful, you’ll just have to be gracious.