Thursday, July 12, 2012

Q&A: What does your family think?

I didn't plan on addressing this topic publicly, but it's quickly becoming one of my most frequently asked questions.

So here it is, by popular request:  

Q. What does your family think about your name change?

(Not my family, but these folks look pretty nice, too.)
A. Part of the reason I hesitate to answer this question in this space is because it doesn't have a clear answer.

If we're going by a percentage of the total family (people related to either of us by genes or marriage), solidly more than 50% of the total number of family members are at least supportive of our surname change. The vast majority of those have had reactions above and beyond their base of support which include excitement, pride, celebration, and happiness.

If I were to include in this number all of our friends, unrelated loved ones, and acquaintances, (including those who are ambivalent about it simply because it has nothing to do with them) the majority would be solidly greater than 75%.

I could easily end my answer there with a consensus by majority opinion: our family approves of our name blending! But that wouldn't articulate the opinions of the remainder of the voices. Which, to complicate matters further, have largely been silent. ...At least toward me.

As far as I know, Jaymz has received one phone call, one email, and one letter (each from a different person) regarding his (our?) name change. Each of those has alluded to (and in one case, explicitly named) others who are upset, hurt, or offended by this decision.

I have received close to no direct communication from any of the alleged dissenters (save one short phone conversation with one person who asked to talk to me after having called Jaymz, and then didn't discuss the name change) since the day we called to share our news.

This unified silence is quite disappointing and saddening to me, as I thought that we all had the kind of relationship that valued connection over differences. I thought we were all united in our belief in maintaining a loving and open relationship (and along with that, communication) even when we disagree or have gotten our feelings hurt. I certainly would appreciate the courtesy of a conversation where I can hear firsthand about how these loved ones are feeling and why. It could be that there is simply a misunderstanding between us that could be cleared up with an exchange of clarifying questions and answers.

On the other hand, it could be that those who are purported to disapprove of the name blending actually don't feel that way and that those reporting on their opinions are mistaken. Or, that they used to disapprove but are coming around to acceptance (if not agreement with) our decision.

Enough speculation, though—I simply can't know unless I hear it from the source!

So I'll go back to what I do know for sure: many of our extended family members are joyful and excited about our newly blended name, and I'm choosing to focus on that for now.

Do you have a question that you'd like me to write about? Feel free to contact me, and I may just answer your question here!


  1. Hopefully some of the silence comes from a feeling of this being no big deal, and some of it comes from people being upset about it and knowing that they shouldn't be, so choosing to stay silent until they calm down.
    I'm sorry that you have this minor bit of unpleasantness to deal with about your personal family decision

    1. Thank you, Shannon. I do have similar hopes as you about what's behind the silence, but it's difficult to draw conclusions with such little information. I really appreciate your kind words.

  2. I appreciate your response here, at least. Hopefully it will bring some conversations to the forefront?

    1. I would hope so! I'm glad you appreciated my response, Lauren.


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