Monday, April 28, 2014

Motivation Monday: A Solid Family Name

Cambodians' last names are a direct correlation to one's grandfather's first name. Therefore, one is not known specifically as a line as it is with the rest of Asia, or even the rest of the world. Cambodians want you to know where and who you come from. This is the norm in Cambodia... but upon moving to a western continent, this is not so. This is the case for S, R, L and myself. The boys have our grandfather's first name as their surname and the girls have our dad/great-grandfather's last name as our surname. It caused real confusion in grammar school and the like- are we half-siblings, step-siblings, adopted? Nope, our parents are our parents and they're one in the same. (My uncle later explained that the boys should have the correct, traditional surname because their last names will never change. And they figured us girls would eventually marry and take on the name of our husband, so it didn't matter.)

Puerto Ricans, on the other hand, have two last names in distinct correlation to one's father's paternal last name and one's mother's paternal last name. This is enforced in the country and you are never expected to give just one name when asked for your familial name. (Even me, apparently, when asked by MIL. She prompted for both my parent's last names. "Uh... I'm Asian. My mom's last name is the same as my dad's. My mom has a maiden name- is that what you're referring to?") Cristhian's family dates back to Spain and has therefore kept this tradition. As the only sibling born in Puerto Rico, he is without a middle name, yet has his father's last name AND his mom's last name as two names, both of which are depicted on his birth certificate. (His siblings were all born state-side and only have one last name, originally their father's, but this has changed through no fault of their own, but through the fault of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and his parents. I will get to this story another time.)

As a child whose family (for the most part- sorry S and R!) shares a similar last name, I have come to conclude a sense realization and happiness that a single family name possesses. Crissy and I, although hyphenated on my end, share a last name that we can share with our children. With all the issues Cristhian and I have had with my last names and his last names, I've come to relish a solidarity in names.

For the longest time, I wanted my kids to share my highly superior last name, but I've finally decided otherwise. Therefore, Eggroll and/or Empanada (hopefully two Empanadas- so Empanada and Empanadita) will be named FirstName MiddleName Middle Name HisLastName. Zorro, Otie and Kuro have Cristhian's last name anyway. Their siblings should have a name to match! I think it's sweet.

Names are annoying, aren't they?

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