During my recent divorce, I chose not to legally change my name back to my maiden name. There were a few reasons but at the time the main one was that I wanted the same last name as my kids. I am "Momma Carlson" after all.
Since I made that choice I have wondered if I should have kept my married name or made the change. For the past couple of months I used my maiden name on social media to try it out. It didn't work for me. It's not me anymore. But then again I'm not married anymore either.
A name is important. It signifies who you are and where you belong. It's something that gets passed down from generation to generation. Family names come with stories and legacies....some good and some bad.
So who am I now? I am still my parent's daughter but yet I am something more. I am no longer the wife of my ex but yet I am the mother to his children who carry his name. I will admit that there were days when emotions were high that I didn't want to be known as a Carlson. I just couldn't get peace about what the right thing was for me.
I began thinking about legacies and the history of our family. That's when it hit me.....carrying on the Carlson name isn't about my ex. It's about a very special woman named May Carlson.
May Carlson was a single woman who never married and who never had any biological children of her own. She worked in textiles and lived with her mother. She was active in her church and sang in the choir. She was a godly woman who prayed and asked God to bring a family into the empty house next door to her so that she could minister to them.
God answered her prayers. A family did move into that house. A large Hispanic family. May befriended the mom and shared Jesus with her. The mom got sick with cancer and she asked May to look out for her kids. When the mom passed away, the youngest was only about 4 years old. May kept her promise to the mom and through a series of events, she became a foster mom to the youngest 2 boys.
May loved God and she shared that love with not just those 2 boys but with the rest of the family as well. She gave everything she had to raise those boys and to try to teach them morals, character and Christian values. The youngest was a handful and seemed to always be getting in trouble for something. She liked to remind him that Jesus was always watching. And made him ask himself if he would do what he was doing if Jesus was sitting next to him.
At the age of 18, as a thank you for everything that she had done for him, the youngest boy went to court and had his name legally changed to Carlson. That was the day that the May Carlson legacy began. That boy is who I married 22 years ago. May Carlson passed away a few years before I met her son. I so wish that I could have met her and gotten to know her. She was a remarkably patient and kind woman. A woman who spent her retirement years raising teenagers and caring for her elderly mother. A woman who became the hands and feet of Jesus right in her own neighborhood.
I am so blessed to be a Carlson "daughter". I want my life to honor Christ and the May Carlson legacy. I want to pass that legacy down to the next generation. I am so thankful that there are 3 Carlson boys to carry on her name and her story for generations to come.
I wonder what she would think about her grandkids? I think she would probably be very happy to know that they love God and are growing up to be amazing young people.
Thank you May for being a praying woman who stepped out into obedience to God. Thank you for loving Jesus enough to serve him in such a practical way. Happy Mother's Day in heaven.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, a VBS crafter, a coupon clipper, a thrift store shopper, a football fan, a cook, a student of the Bible and an avid reader.