Mom’s Name Grows On You


Mom’s maiden name was Helen Douglas Martin.

Her married name is Helen Laughon.

For the last few years she has reverted back to her maiden name.

She is no longer my dad’s wife. She is Dr. Martin’s youngest daughter.

“I am Helen Douglas Martin. My daddy is Doctor B. H. Martin. He is the greatest doctor and smartest man in the United States of America. He has money running out of his ears.”

Mom has soundbite, epitaph-like descriptions about all of the key people in her life.

For my dad it’s, “Fred is a “good man. He cares about everyone.”

For my sister it’s, “Nel is a beautiful girl. She can do anything.”

Notice all three of these descriptions are present tense.

I consistently tell mom she is Helen Douglas Martin Laughon, mainly so I can feel the connection of our last name, while letting her maintain her core Martin identity, the identity her mind assures her she most certainly is … no doubt about it.

She is one of the four Martin siblings of which she is the youngest at six years old. The other three are all referred to in present tense, “Fanny Martin, Berkeley Martin, and Hunter Martin,” although mom has been the last one standing for quite some time now.

When I say, “Mom, you are Helen Douglas Martin Laughon,” she will agree with me. But, she will never add Laughon without me saying it first.

When I say it, she answers without any hesitation, “That is my name and it is a first page name.” I am not sure what that means exactly, but it does make it sound important.

No matter what she answers to or who she says she is, I am still “her boy”, thank goodness. And, thank goodness, I am still in the living, breathing present tense. “You are the best boy in the United States of America and you always know how to do the right thing at the right time.”

And … with that I have to agree one hundred percent! She is so right on.

The other day, mom added a little more length to her name on her own accord, without any prompting from me. When I asked her what her name was, she announced with a  flair all her own, “My name is Helen Douglas Martin Laughon Love.”

Now, that was a mouthful for a six year old … and it took my breath away.

For, indeed, my mom is (present tense), always was (past tense) and always will be (future tense) Love.

Helen Douglas Martin Laughon Love.

The name that grows on you.

About Tom Laughon

Tom Laughon (Pronounced Lawn) is President of Catch Your Limit, an organization whose sole purpose is to guide and grow leaders. His journey from lead singer in a rock-n-roll band, to a successful career in marketing & advertising to consultant, strategist, keynote speaker, facilitator, professor and writer is a fascinating one. Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, Tom and his team guide organizations, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies to national associations, to "catch their limit" in areas such as leadership development, creativity, innovation, teaming and transformational change. His commitment to "practice what he preaches" has made Catch Your Limit a petri dish for round-the-clock discovery and learning. The firm's brand reflects Tom's personal brand: Fun, Inspirational, Strategic & Hot!

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