Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Hi Baby!

Your mom and I have been talking a lot about names lately. Naming a baby is hard, because there are so many good options (and so many terrible ones, a subset of which your mother likes, so don't worry, I'll protect you) and it feels like you're making a very important decision. After all, you're going to be stuck with whatever name we decide for quite awhile, and who knows how it will shape who you are?

But today I want to talk about last names. That one's easier for you, because it's going to be Lute. It's a nice name. Simple. Short. Musically evocative. It's served me well for my whole life. But your mother wasn't always a Lute, so the name wasn't quite as easy for her.

See, soon after we started dating, we were talking casually (or maybe not-so-casually, as our relationship moved very quickly. If one of yours ever moves this quickly, you will have some explaining to do, baby) about marriage. Your mom mentioned that, for a number of reasons, she didn't want to change her last name when she got married. She wanted to stay a Beauregard, because it had always been her name and it had been her dad's name and for all kinds of good reasons. I'm a progressive, forward-thinking kind of dad, and I told her I was fine with that. Didn't bother me in the slightest, and in fact, I understood, because I certainly didn't want to change *my* name when we got married.

You may have noticed, however, that your mom's last name isn't Beauregard, like Memere's. It's Lute, like yours. Weird, huh?

Well, not long after we had that talk, your mother asked me, "Well, what will our children's last names be?" (This was probably an hour later. Seriously, baby, we were and are very in love, but you should probably take your time, for your parents' sake.) We talked about it a bit, and I told her that I didn't want to hyphenate your last name.  Lute-Beauregard is pretentious, and Beauregard-Lute sounds like a civil war bard. She wanted you to have her last name, too, which I understood, and of course, I wanted you to have my last name for the same reasons. We talked about it more and weren't really getting anywhere, until finally your mother said:

"Let's rock-paper-scissors for it."

Now, baby, you should know a couple of things. First of all, your mother is terrible at rock-paper-scissors. Just absolutely awful. I shouldn't give away her...er...strategy, but she always throws rock the first time because "rock is the best." EVERY TIME. She does this even knowing that I know she does it. It's like some kind of brain disorder. I hope you aren't born with it. Second of all, you should probably not make important life decisions (particularly about other, unborn people's lives) through thumb wars, rock-paper-scissors, arm wrestling, or other feats of appendage heroism. Your mother ESPECIALLY shouldn't do this, because she's absolutely awful at all of those things. And if you ARE going to do it, you should at least do best-two-out-of-three.

But your mother did none of these things that night in Little Canada, MN. She threw one rock and lost to my paper. And so your last name is Lute. To her credit, and I can't begin to tell you how much I respect her for this, not once in the intervening years did she ever question this result. She is a woman of her word and respects the deal, even if the deal is made over an incredibly biased game of rock-paper-scissors.

So that's why your name is Lute, but it's not why her name is Lute. You see, another hour or so went by talking about other things until she said, "Hmm...well, I don't want my name to be different from my kids' last name." And so she decided to change her name instead of challenging the decision.

That is one of the many, many reasons I love her, and why we're all Lutes, and why mom will have to let you go to that party if your rock-paper-scissors her for it and throw paper. Sorry to undermine her parenting.

Your Dad

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