When she found out she was having a boy, my mother didn’t hesitate for even a moment. She had always wanted a boy so she could name him Omar. For many months in the womb, she referred to me as Omar. In her mind and heart, she waited for Omar to arrive.
A few weeks before I was born, my grandmother asked my mom for a personal favor: To change her mind (and heart) about the name Omar. My grandmother suggested the name Rami, after the son of her “Christian neighbor”, whom she adored.
And so, I arrived, my mother’s Omar, now named Rami. And I can’t help but wonder how different I would’ve been as Omar.
Sometimes I’d look in the mirror and call myself Omar to see if I’d respond to the name, but I don’t respond. It could’ve been but it wasn’t.
Hi, my name is Rami, against all odds.