The Lee Legacy

What is it they say to parents when their children marry? You’re not losing a daughter, you are gaining a son. Or, you’re not losing a son, you are gaining a daughter.

I may not have it word for word, but I’m close.

In my family, that statement has proved true, so far anyway. My daughter didn’t disappear when I gained her husband as a son. She visits. She calls. I see her, and I don’t even have to kidnap her to make that happen. She even acts like she likes to go places with me.

Soon, I’ll be adding a brand-new daughter. Her name is Rebekah; I call her R-bekah. She is a native South Carolinian who fell in love with a WV boy. That WV boy – my boy – hiked his best girl from one Mountain State peak to another until he found just the right spot. Then, he dropped to one knee and asked her to stand by his side for the rest of their lives.

Her reply? “I need water. Mountain hiking is exhausting. What did you say again?”

OK. R-bekah didn’t say that. She said this: “YES!”

When I met my future daughter four years ago, I saw the beauty, creativity, and sense of humor that captured my son’s heart. Even so, I remained oblivious to the fact that she was “the one.”

When Rebekah’s warmth and radiance and the way the two gazed at one another didn’t wake me up, something else should have – her middle name. As soon as I heard it, I should have known that the girl on my son’s arm was destined to take the name McCutcheon.

Rebekah is Rebekah Leigh.

Call it a lack of creativity. Call it devotion to a family name. Call it a major case of redundancy. But in the McCutcheon family, the middle name “Lee” (or Leigh) is key.

My father-in-law is Gary Lee, Sr. My husband is Gary Lee, Jr. Gary’s older brother, my brother-in-law, was Joseph Lee.

Joe named his first son Robert Lee. When he christened his second son Brian Lee, I voiced my concerns about this Lee-crazy family.

“What is up with your family and Lee?” I asked my husband. “There are other middle names out there. Why not Thomas or David or John or Charles?”

Little did I know that I’d do more than my part to add to the McCutcheon-Lee legacy. It’s called karma.

When we arrived at the hospital to give birth to our second child, we went armed with a list of names. And what did I do? I gave her two names that I had intentionally omitted. Kristen – because it was too popular and Leigh, well, you should know why that one didn’t make the cut.

But every time the nurses put the baby in my arms, some McCutcheon spirit from the past whispered “Kristen Leigh.” And Kristen Leigh, she is.

Seventeen months later, I gave birth to Rebekah’s fiancé. The baby who was to be Grant Patrick is the third in the string of Gary Lees that I mentioned earlier.

Somehow, our firstborn, Jordan Elyse, managed to dodge the Lee legacy. Does she feel left out? Does she feel as though she is not a true McCutcheon? Or is she relieved that hers is a middle name unique to the family? I don’t know, and I am not going to ask.

I’ll stick to the facts. Love is not just about a name. My son’s R-bekah captivated me as well. She is the daughter of my heart. In a few months, it will be official when she becomes Rebekah Leigh McCutcheon, wife of Gary Lee, III.

In case you’re wondering how many Lees are in the couple’s future, they named their puppy “Lola Leigh.”

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VievesVine View All →

writer, blogger, columnist

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