Blanche _______

By far the most common question we’ve gotten throughout this pregnancy has been ‘What’s her last name going to be?’ OK, it’s behind a few questions, such as, “Is she getting an epidural?” “Are you considering a home birth?” “Is Blanche going to be her name for real?”

And there are the generic pregnancy questions: “How is she feeling?” This one has been especially common since Kristie’s been on bedrest. I’m having a hard time coming up with new ways to answer it, but I try to keep it fresh. We’re way past “she’s hangin’ in there” and “she’s pretty bored.” Now I say things like “I started free Netflix trials in two different names.”

“When’s it due?” April 3. Next.

“Does she have any weird cravings?” Who am I to say any craving is weird? I eat green olives out of the can. But yeah, for a while she only wanted to drink margarita mix (virgin of course). She eats Smarties and Fun Dip all day long. She’ll never turn down a pizza. But there really haven’t been the ice cream binges or the cheeseburger buffets you hear about.

So, back to Blanche’s last name. We have a unique situation, though all name scenarios are becoming less and less rare. When my parents married, they kept their last names, leaving my brothers and I with a hyphenated one. It wasn’t unheard of when I was a kid, but it was a lifetime of explaining. These days, multiple last names, hyphenated or not, are quite common.

As a preschool teacher, I’ve seen it all when it comes to last name concoctions: dad’s name, mom’s name, both, a combination of each, or something altogether different. What’s different about our situation is that one of us already has two last names. And since Kristie wants her name to be part of our childrens’ names, that creates a quandry.

One of the issues is simply the way we view our names. Kristie, whose last name is Case, sees my last name as two names–my mom’s and my dad’s last. I see it as one. It’s my one last name, the only one I have. So where she sees three last names, I see only two: Hoeger-Lerdal and Case. With that said, we both agree that giving Blanche all three isn’t feasible.

So, we choose. Do we be traditional in our own untraditional way, and give our children my entire last name, Hoeger-Lerdal? Do we pick one of the two? If so, which one and why? Keep the father’s lineage intact? Honor the mother? Whichever one sounds better? Is easier to pronounce? Easier to text? To fill in bubble test sheets? First in the phone book? Better locker placement in high school? How do you decide? Do we take the simple, easy to pronounce name and go with Case? How much do we want our children to have a piece of us in their names?

At first, I was a bit apathetic. A name, while important in shaping one’s identity, is just a name. I would love Blanche no matter what her name ended up being. Then, I decided I did want my name as a part of hers. But only one of the two names. Between Hoeger and Lerdal, though, I could make no winning argument. Kristie was fine with this idea, provided that Blanche’s middle name be Case. So that was settled. But as her birth drew nearer, I started feeling like I wanted Blanche to have Hoeger-Lerdal as her last name. Kristie felt it would be confusing (because she sees it as two names) that a child would have two last names, and neither of them would be hers. Again, I don’t see it that way since it is my one last name. Blanche would too have one last name, not a combination. This is difficult to follow.

By the way, a combo hyphen last name was never considered. Hoeger-Case, Lerdal-Case, Case-Hoeger, Case-Lerdal, no thanks. Nor was a smashed version of the three, such as Hoeglerase or Caserdal, considered.

The options had been narrowed to three: Hoeger, Lerdal or Hoeger-Lerdal. So, what have we decided?

How about a cliffhanger? I’d love to hear some opinions on this topic. Which way would you go? What criteria would you use for your decision? How big of a deal is this? Post a response. I’ll tell you what we’ve chosen on…how about Friday?

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3 Responses to “Blanche _______”

  1. Deb Says:

    I think you should go the “honor your mother” route, don’t you?

  2. Donna Says:

    Yikes! Honor thy mother (Kristie) with “Case”, but honor your lineage in the traditional sense with your father’s last name which I assume is “Lerdal”. So, Blanche Case-Lerdal. You do have to keep in mind that Blanche will be faced with this when she gets married and has children.

    Not to complicate it but perhaps you can throw your mother’s name in there again with “Hoeger” as Blanche’s middle name.

    Good luck.

  3. Claire Says:

    You did not leave enough time to comment on this cliff hanger!

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