Next year marks 25 years of marriage for my husband and me. Before you do the math, just know that I was a child bride when Barney brought me over from Russia. So with nearly a quarter of a centuries worth of marriage under my belt, I feel that I am in a position to impart some words of wisdom. Of course, there’s the old “make sure you love him” blah, blah, blah. And the “make sure he’ll be a good father to your children” blah, blah, blah. In my day and age, we had the “make sure he’s a good provider” blah, blah, blah. Nowadays, he’s just as likely to be the one staying at home with the kids so I guess it’s the “make sure he won’t feel emasculated if you decide to be the sole bread winner.”
Those are all wonderful questions to pose before marriage, but the really important ones are rarely spoken of: Namely, “do I plan on taking his last name? And, if so, is it an easy one to spell?” I went from a tricky last name to an even trickier one. Absolutely no one spells my married name correctly - heck, I didn’t spell it correctly until we had been dating for a few months and I happened to see a card addressed to him. “Oh, that’s how you spell it?” (Remember this was before there was social media and the opportunity to case someone out before you dated.) It was at that point that I should have tried Barney’s name on for size to see how it felt to walk around living life in a perpetual spelling bee. Cohabitation prior to marriage is all the rage so why can’t name borrowing be a thing too?
To make matters worse, my married name ends in an “s”. Lesson #2 for all you would-be brides: do not adopt a name that ends in an “s”. Unless you are direct descendant of Webster himself, you’ll never be able to write cute things on greeting cards like:
Good luck on your move to Alaska! Love, The Joneseseseses (or is it the Joneses’? Or the Jonesies?)
You’re doomed. Your kids are doomed. It’s a fate worse than being right-handed (sorry, folks, I’m a proud lefty).
As if that wasn’t enough – I got the trifecta of bad last names: a name no one can spell, a name that ends in an “s” and a name that is always called last. I moved from a fairly good position at a “g” to a terrible position at a “w”. I was demoted! Being told that their mom was the tooth fairy was nothing compared to the cold hard facts I had to tell my kids before they started kindergarten:
Me: Kids, I have some scary news to tell you. You will never, never ever, be called upon first. You will always be at the end of the line, the end of the cubbies, the end of the row of desks. The end. My suggestion is to become friends with a Zorinsky or a Yarnell. That way, you’ll always feel better about your station in life. Welcome to the life of a “w”.
My son stepped off the bus his first day of kindergarten. I had been camped out on the corner for 2 hours waiting for him, scared I might miss that perfect moment.
Me: Well? Great day, babe? Did you love it? Who are your new friends?
Jimbo: Mommy, I am friends with Tommy Arnell and Jake Davis! But my cubby isn’t next to theirs. And I don’t sit next to them. I’m next to Patricia Walker and she picks her nose.
My heart fell. He had a life of pain laid right before him.
So when my sister begged and begged to be mentioned in a blog, I promised I’d work her in somehow. The key was coming up with an alias as I’ve done with all those I love. I’m all about protecting their identities. After all, I asked for this fame, not them. It’s like shielding them from the paparazzi, if you will. Her name is Debbie so she suggested Dolores as her alter-ego. Dolores? Ending in an “s”? I don’t think so. Writing is tricky enough without that added confusion. I’m going to call her Dolor. Or Dorothy. I don’t know. I’m still working on it. Maybe I’m just jealous - her married name is Brown.
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