Mother’s Day: The name’s the same

Kudos to my mother-in-law, who likes to point out that I am her favorite son-in-law.


Before my wife and I got married, I was quite neutral about whether my bride-to-be would change her last name to mine. I wasn’t planning to change my name to hers, and it was HER name, and she had had it for a while, so whatever she decided was fine. (Although I was REALLY hoping she wouldn’t opt for the hyphenated choice; after a while, when Mary Smith-Wesson marries John Smith-Jones, and she -or they – become the Smith-Wesson=Smith-Jones family, it can get cumbersome.)

In fact, it was my future mother-in-law who counseled that her daughter take my last name. It wasn’t out of any sense of traditionalism, but more out of practicality. We were/are a mixed-race couple and she thought it would be better for the outside world to know that we were a married couple, especially if we were to have children. I didn’t get this at the time.

Fast forward to filling out all of these forms for the Daughter’s school registration each year. It is NOT assumed that the father and the mother are married, or live at the same address, or even share joint custodial arrangements. It makes me oddly happy that my daughter has two parents that, to the world, are unambiguously hers. I’m not sure why, but I do.

Maybe it’s because I know couples in my life who sometimes get static. “Is that YOUR son, YOUR daughter?” Usually, it involves the adoption of a child of a different race and/or culture.

So kudos to my mother-in-law, who likes to point out that I am her favorite son-in-law. Of course, I’m her ONLY son-in-law.
Of course, I still miss my mom, who died 15 months ago. My wife, I should mention more often, is a great mom to the Daughter.

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