Mrs. and Mrs.* Sparrow-Bird-McTurtleson

Today, Meg at A Practical Wedding brought up (hesitantly, I was amused to see) name changing.

This has been something of a struggle for us.  Changing our name – sharing a name – has felt important to me during this entire getting-married/becoming-a-family process.  As I’ve written before, we aren’t planning on having children, and without children to unite us to the public as a family, the shared last name feels like a big deal.  Otherwise, we could just be friends or roommates or coworkers you see hanging out a lot.  Who hold hands. And kiss on the mouth.  Okay, so maybe not just friends, but still – without children or a name, it feels like a mistake that could be easily made.  We will be family and I want that to be obvious.

Okay, so let’s share a last name, no big deal, right?  Except, have you met us? Why would we do something that would be simple?  When my parents got married, they both took each other’s names, so my parents, siblings, and I all have the same, hyphenated last name; it’s DadsName-MomsName.  Let’s say it’s Sparrow-Robin, for simplicity’s sake.  So my siblings, parents, and I are the only Sparrow-Robins in the whole world.  If you look up Sparrow-Robin online, you’ll get hits that are only people in my immediate family.  I am the only Bird Sparrow-Robin, and I think that is really cool.

Turtle’s last name is McTurtleson.**  This is not the last name she was born with, nor is it the last name she grew up with.  It is her third last name, and it is one that she picked out, and it is very meaningful to her.  Plus, it’s a nice name on its own.  She has made it very clear that she is not going to give up McTurtleson, and that she is reluctant to change it.  This makes sense to me, and I support it.  That said, if I were to take it, I would be Bird McTurtleson, which makes no sense in funny blogspeak, so I’m sorry about that, but it’s a relatively common name.  Yes, Dr. McTurtleson is a nice name, but I have always loved how unique my name is, and I don’t want to give that up either.


such a repetetive, boring debate that jake cant keep from yawning

We have two couples that we’re friends with who recently changed their last names, and I’ll say their actual last names here because I can’t come up with other cutesy fake names.  Sorry, guys. (Let me know if you want me to take this off and I will be happy to).  The first couple is a man and a woman who started out with the last names Fulmer and Anderson.  I think they had many conversations about the name changing before settling on creating a new last name… they combined both last names and took a section out: fulmeranderson became Merand (pronounced Mair-and).  The other couple is made up of two kickass women whose last names were Smith and Leonard – and they combined them to become the Leonardsmiths.

I love the idea of being the Somethings, the FamilyNames.

At some point recently, we came up with an option that might work.  I will shift my name over, and we’ll take the same last name!  I’ll drop my middle name and change my full name to Bird Sparrow Robin-McTurtleson – the future veterinarian Dr. Robin-McTurtleson. Yes?  And Turtle will be Turtle Robin-McTurtleson.

This all feels complicated, and difficult, and there are so many ties to our names and to our families.  I worry that my dad will feel like I dropped him because I won’t be using his name as an obvious part of my name anymore.  I worry that my mom’s feelings will be hurt because we won’t share the same initials, as we always have.  I worry that no one will be able to pronounce the Robin part of my last name, and that Turtle will have to share in the misery of always having to correct the way someone says half of your name. AND, I want to create a clear connection to the woman I am marrying, but I also don’t want to lose the obvious connection to the family I came from.

What are you doing? Have you thought about this? Does it seem to make a difference if you’re in a relationship with a man or a woman?

*Oh! And it turns out that you’re only a “Mrs.” if you are a woman who marries a man. And takes his name? I don’t remember that last part. But if you are a woman who marries a woman, you are just a Ms.! These things are so complicated, guys.
**Blog-friendly alternative last names include “McBestFianceeEver” and “McSexyPants”


Filed under Marriage/Wedding/Engagement

9 responses to “Mrs. and Mrs.* Sparrow-Bird-McTurtleson

  1. Aunt Donna Haxton

    Dear Miranda,
    I have read two of these so far, and you write like your Dad with a sense of humor thrown in. I am enjoying these. I have no earthly idea how to solve your problem but I love you and all of us in your Dad’s family do so just lead with your heart and be sweet to all who are so rude as to share their opinion. Love, Aunt Donna

    • Hi Aunt Donna! Thanks for stopping by and for commenting! Also, thanks for your input… it’s such a hard decision, especially with current family events. Thanks for your support. Love you.

  2. cmc

    Eff that, you guys can go by Mrs if you freakin’ want to!! (I plan on keeping Ms., as well as my own damn name – as a political statement… although it makes me *kind of* sad to make a personal decision like that based on societal factors). Anyway, I would have taken that other name that one time I was in that other relationship… except I only would have take the second half of it and only if she had gone by the same, for same-ness sake and to rid ourselves of the hyphen. You don’t seem bent on ridding yourself of a hyphen, which puts you guys in a great place for compromise. Way to go, team!

  3. lyn

    Ooh! I really like the idea of combining names. My partner and I have a couple of really unfortunate last names, however. The only consonants between them are B, P, R, K, and N. So far I have only been able to come up with new names that either come out sounding like the noise a squawking bird makes, or a word a small child would invent to taunt another small child on the playground. Uh, no.

    Drat. I’m back to square one, which is: I think I’m keeping my last name, and he’s keeping his.

    It’s a tough, tough decision to make. I thought Meg brought up a good point that it’s not something we always have to decide on BEFORE the marriage.

    I’m glad you guys have come up with a good solution that meets your needs!

    • I know we don’t HAVE to do it before we get married, but there’s also something exciting about being introduced as the So-and-Sos after the ceremony!

  4. pamela

    wait, so… is McSexyPants totally out of the question??? okay kidding. 🙂 but wow, this is tres complicated! (especially since i know both your last names and spent the entire time trying to decipher blog-speak into actual names) but i have to say i really like the name combining thing! what a crazy-cool i idea! although i know how important mcturtleson is to a certain bf of mine… hmm. i shall ponder more. oh, and Beau thinks you should go with SqueakyToy. Bird & Turtle SqueakyToy… nice ring, no?

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