The Christmas before I was born, my dad posed for a photo with a rye and Coke in one hand and a handwritten sign in the other. It said, “A toast to little Johnny.”
My parents thought they were having a boy and planned to name me after my grandpa. Six months later, a doctor at St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon looked at my tiny newborn body and declared I was a girl. Anxious about my dad’s reaction, my mom asked the nurse to break the news to him. He wasn’t disappointed, though. He ordered a dozen red roses to be delivered to the hospital with a card that read: “To my beautiful wife and our lovely daughter.”
I wish I’d been my dad’s “little Johnny.”
Instead I got a girl’s name. It never did fit or feel right.