Here’s the story of Dave Wadapadatuckachuck. He joined our family about four years ago.
One night at the dinner table, Anna, I think she was about eight, asked about changing names when you get married. We told her she doesn’t have to but can change her name if she wants, and in one joking invention, I blurted out, “Like if you marry Dave Wadapadatuckachuck, you’d probably want to keep DeCesare.” We all burst out laughing and since then, Dave has been hanging around.
Once, the kids joined a building contest at a science workshop and they were “Team Wadapadatuckachuck,” that poor leader struggled when he had to announce their name. Then there was the time when, in some other dinner table discussion years later, I mistakenly threw out Dave’s name but associated him with Ali instead of Anna. With perfect comedic timing, Anna turned to Ali and with feigned indignation said, “You stole my man!” Talk about a fall out of your chair moment!
So, Mr. Wadapadatuckachuck has become part of our family lore and he’s here to stay. I bring him up now because it seems the recent trend is to merge family names when couples marry so that Melissa Bridge marries George Miller and they become the Bridgemillers. Recently, we were talking about this at yet another family dinner, and it became clear that this practice would, within another generation create names as unweildy as Wadapadatuckachuck.
What happens when Sally Bridgemiller marries Harry Goldenberghumphreys? Those kiddos will be the Bridgemillergoldenberghumphreys. I’m actually laughing as I type this.
I truly think it’s such an individual choice and our names are precious parts of who we are. I honor every woman, and every family’s decisions, they are personal and important. As this subject presented itself, it has simply made me consider and ponder what this combined naming looks like in a short time. And it made me think of our friend Dave Wadapadatuckachuck.
Personally, I chose to change my name out of a combination of tradition and the practicality of having one family name, but I want our daughters, and our son, to do what feels right to them and their future spouses. It won’t be easy having a four-syllable last name to work with. We have friends, each with a one syllable last name, and their merged last name is pretty and two syllables shorter than my non-merged last name.
That brings me to wonder, how do we honor both parents’ birth names and backgrounds in a way that doesn’t make it overwhelming or awkwardly cumbersome for future children? What will the resolution be for merging family names in a generation or two? The trend isn’t just in merging names but in meshing them or inventing totally new names, maybe that’s how it stays manageable.
I love digging into my ancestry generations back. My mother even painted our family tree based on tons of research, what happens to those threads, are they harder to follow decades from now?
What do you think? Did you combine your family names?
As for the DeCesares, we’re still waiting for the day when the real Dave Wadapadatuckachuck appears in our lives and sits down to dinner with us.
© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2016