Sunday, March 2

Make Peace, Not War

Anti-war poster, 1969, photo by Michael © 2006

Yesterday my daughter's father talked to her about changing her name. She has his last name at the moment. It was the name I gave her when she was born.
Now he is changing his last name. It is a name he chose, the last name of his step-father who is no longer in any of our lives. He first changed it from his father's last name. His father was never in his life. Now he's picked a new name, Allen. The madian name of his material grandmother. I guess his great grandfather is far back enough that he never had a chance let his great grandson down.
The thing is, my daughter's father takes a very hands off approach when it comes to his relationship with her. I won't say he doesn't want to be a part of her life, but I will say that really, he's just not. I know he has all sorts of reasons for this and what ever they are, I have to say I don't care.
I want my daughter to have my last name because for one, it means something. My last name is so rare that I know everyone in this country who has it, and yes, they are all related to me. She is being entertained by his family, but she is being raised my mine. I am the one that is dealing with all the crappy parts of being a parent, not him. I'm the one taking time off work to see her square dance at school and using my weekends to help her complete her projects. If nothing else, can't I complain that I'm the one paying for everything? After all, if companies can buy the naming rights to football staduims, shouldn't one be able to buy the right to name their child?

If only life were so simple. If only he had the sense to talk to me before blurting it out to her. I could have said, "Your dad is changing his last name, and you are going to get to have mine!" She would have gone for it. Instead she wants to take his name. She wants her monogram to be A.A.
A big part of me wants to call him up and cuss him out. I want to put my foot down and shout, "You will have my name! Don't you know how worthless he is?" More to the point, I feel betrayed. In my own childish way I feel she has picked her dad with his trips to Hawaii and Build-a-Bear over me and my fusing about grades and bedtimes. I feel like Claire Danes in Brokendown Palace, that movie where she was stopped in Thailand and thrown in jail with out understanding why. Now I am caught in a system that I don't understand, and I'm not real sure what I'm suppose to do next. How do I maneuver my way through this without having my life sentence converted to the death penalty?

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