Why Renata Rubio?

Laura and Her Mom

My name is Laura Renata Rubio and I've been importing and distributing sterling silver jewelry since 1996. Renata means "reborn" in Latin and it's the name my family has always called me. It's the name that means being home.


It's funny how I got the name Renata. When my mom was pregnant with me she, and anyone with enough resources for a black and white TV, was hooked on a soap opera called "Renata La Gata" (Renata, the female cat). On the day I was born, my mom, being the single and independent woman that she was, went to the hospital early in the morning. She found her doctor and told him she was ready to give birth, and he needed to be quick because her soapy started at 4:00. No baby or doctor, ignorant of what it means to live one's life around the schedule of a soapy, was going to make her miss her soapy.


The doctor asked my mom how she knew she was ready to give birth that very day, and in her impatient way she responded that she knew because she knew, and that the doctor needed to get going because the important issue here was not missing the soapy. If the doctor did his job right and immediately, there would be no chance or reason to miss an episode of "Renata La Gata." In other words, "stop asking stupid questions and do your job."


The doctor must have understood there is no standing between a woman and her soapy without some harm, or at least the perceived threat of nonstop lip directed at him. So I was born way before 4:00 and all was well with the world. Or was it? My mom had it in her mind she was having a boy, for whom she had the name Ernesto. There had been no ultrasound done, but because she had had my brother 7 years earlier, she thought the pregnancy felt the same. So she was sure she was having a boy, and that was that.


My grandmother came to the hospital with a small black and white TV for my mom's room, where they could both pay homage to the proprietor of their undivided attention from 4-5 pm every weekday. During a commercial break my grandmother asked my mom what they should name me, after all, they had a girl in their hands. Not an Ernesto.


My mom never entertained the thought I might be a girl and didn't bother to think of a girl name. That bridge would be crossed eventually, at due time. For now, it was time for her soapy.


In Mexico at that time, a birth certificate was something one got at the civil registry, not at the hospital. So my mom, my grandmother, and I (the baby had to be present to certify its existence) all bundled up took a number at the civil registry and waited, and waited. When it was my mom's turn she went up to the counter with me in her arms saying "This is my daughter Renata Rubio, born December 1, and I'm here to register her birth and get a certificate." The woman across the counter said she needed a "complete" name to issue a birth certificate, which meant a first name, middle name and two last names, one given by the father and one given by the mother. Well my mom didn't have half of the requirements for a "complete" name. The man who got her pregnant was long gone and unwilling to share any responsibilities, much less his last name. My mom had had enough trouble with taking 2 buses in the middle of winter, waited her turn for hours and now she needed to think of extra names. The woman across the counter said she needed at the very least a first name and a middle name. As far as the last names was concerned, since there was no father present, my mom's last name would suffice. But she definitely needed a first and a middle name. Shit. My mom didn't want the perfect name "Renata" to be overshadowed by any substandard company in the form of a name just to abide by silly rules (or were they laws?). She yelled back to where my grandmother had managed to find a seat that the lady didn't want to give her a birth certificate.

--- No me quiere dar el acta que porque necesito dos nombres. Que hago? (she doesn't want to give me a birth certificate because I need two names. What do I do?)

-- Ponle dos nombres y ya vamonos (give her two names and let's go)

-- Usted como se llama? (what's your name?) my mom asked the woman across the counter

-- Laura she responded

-- Laura Renata Rubio que se llame mi hija. Entonces ya me puede dar el acta? (Laura Renata Rubio will be my daughter's name. Now you can give me a birth certificate?)

-- Si, said the woman smiling to herself.


Regardless of the name requirement, at home I was always called Renata. To my mom and grandmother that was my only name. It wasn't until we came to the US that I started being called Laura, which is a story for another day.


I like the name Renata and that it means "reborn" in Latin. Anyone who has lived a life of consequence needs a conscious and deliberate rebirth from time to time. For me, going back to my "incomplete" name, the one thought out by my single mom and single grandmother and their efforts to keep on keeping on, that's my rebirth.