At the time that I met my husband he already had a son named for his father who thank G-d is alive, healthy and well. So by the time we had our first child together, a daughter, I was used to the idea and we felt privileged to be able to name our baby for my mother-in-law and in turn she felt it a great honor and expression of our kibud av v’eim that we chose to use her name. In the Ashkenazi world this would be completely unthinkable, taboo.
When my daughter’s first child was born, she was named after my son-in-law’s grandmother who had passed away; my daughter is fortunate to have three full sets of living grandparents. Since my daughter was now Ashkenazi we did not even give a moment’s thought that this young couple would even consider naming their child after either my husband or me – it simply was not done. As long as my daughter still enjoys coming over for our special Friday night “Sephardi” fish and pepper salad, we were perfectly fine with that. We had no idea that the customs she grew up with would play such a prominent role in raising her own family.
So it was that they caught us by surprise, and what a precious surprise it was. When our second granddaughter was born, my daughter and son-in-law decided to name her in my honor and out of respect for my husband’s family who accepted my daughter into their lives and into their hearts as one of their own when she was just a young child.
Many of my Ashkenazi family and friends don’t necessarily understand the deep meaning that this event has for me and my husband; they cannot comprehend how an Ashkenazi born woman can have an Ashkenazi daughter name her Ashkenazi granddaughter after her, but quite honestly, for me there is no greater honor. To me this act was not only an honor to me, but a testimonial to the many ways our family has indeed blended.
Yehudit welcomes and encourages input and feedback on issues relating to the Blended Family and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.