I’d like to write this letter to my sweet baby Ginny regarding her very special string of names. As you may or may not know, I kept my last name after marriage. Changing my name was not an option for me; I view the tradition as very archaic and incompatible with my beliefs, and though it definitely works for other families, it did not sit well with me; therefore, I could not make such an important change out of convenience to society. Even after two years of marriage, I still get the confused looks, eye rolls, or comments about how I’m “one of ‘those’ feminists.” But that’s for another time and day.
This letter is to explain to perfect little Ginny why she has two last names.
*Below are some family pictures, including both namesake “Virginias,” grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
A Letter to My Daughter (About Her Two Last Names)
My dearest Ginny,
Your name is incredibly special for so many reasons.
You are Virginia Katherine Rosasco Copeland.
You are more than 31 characters in your name.
First, you are Virginia. You are named after my Gram and Great Grandma Jones who was ahead of her time and named her daughter after herself. I never hear of women doing this, though men commonly name their sons after themselves. Grandma Jones was a very special lady, and I can’t wait to tell you stories about her- I know she visits us from heaven and watches over you, even though you haven’t officially met.
Gram is truly one of the most special people in my life, and I know you will share more than just a name with her- you will share her kindness, fervor for life, non-discriminating palette, and love for reading.
Next, you are Katherine, my middle and your Nana’s middle name. I have always loved my middle name, which is why I never considered dropping it and adding my family name in its place.
Ever since I learned cursive, I loved writing the long, beautiful name. Even though they don’t teach it in school, I will teach you to write cursive and have beautiful handwriting like your grandma and great grandma, and you will love writing your long, loopy, pretty name.
Both Katherine and Virginia mean “pure;” what could be more perfect and pure than you?
You are Rosasco Copeland, an exact product of your mom and dad. Your dad and I love when people, even strangers, tell us that you are a perfect combination of us, and your name reflects that.
People will have strong, mostly negative, opinions about you having two last names. People will think we chose to give you two names out of your mom’s selfishness and that it will only cause you problems and inconveniences. But Ginny girl, dad and I knew you were too smart and strong of a girl to let silly inconveniences get in the way.
You will be so articulate and confident. You will explain to teachers, classmates, and doctors offices that you have two last names. You will take a few extra minutes to explain that your parents are married and that they have different names. You will be able to talk about where your name came from and even talk about your parents’ choice eloquently and without malice, negativity, or harshness. You will rise above anyone who says your name is confusing or inconvenient.
When the time comes, if you don’t love being different and having two names or it proves to be inconvenient or too different for you, dad and I will support whatever you choose! Keep both, drop one, take dad’s, take mine- I don’t care. The main point is to choose with thought, not from what others think is ‘right.’ Do what you think is right, and you will have all the love and support from us. Always.
I know you will take pride in knowing where your two names came from- one from mom and one from dad, and together we’re a strong family full of love, strength, positivity, non-judgment, and support.
As I’m reading this out loud to you and daddy, you gave me the biggest, toothless smile and sounds of approval. Your hair is sticking straight up, you’re happily sucking on your toes and playing with your daddy. You’re looking at me like, ‘why is this even a thing, mom?’ I’m glad you’re already on board, we knew you would be.
With all the love in the world,
Mom (and dad)