The ‘Name Game’ or…Double Trouble!

A curious thing has happened in the Porterfield household. Our children seem to be multiplying. First it was our daughter who announced that she was engaged, back in September. Then, in that same month, our son started mentioning a young lady who was going to be coming out to Canada for an orientation that he was helping to organize. This young lady’s name had been creeping into his conversations more and more since the past spring.

Shortly before she was due to arrive in Canada, Jason informed us that he was hoping to have the opportunity to see how she felt about entering into a committed dating relationship. I was thrilled. I’d been praying for something like this since his college days. But I figured that God was going to have His work cut out for Him, given Jason’s unique calling and chosen lifestyle. You see, Jason doesn’t believe in materialism, hates shopping, strives to live a simple life, has a burning passion to help the urban poor and outcasts, and wants to live amongst them AS he ministers to and befriends them. There aren’t many young women who don’t like to shop, don’t care about things, and wouldn’t mind living in a slum voluntarily. But Jason had managed to find one. Even though I knew hardly anything about her, I DID know that she was alive and breathing, and was filled with the love of the Lord and that was good enough for me.

Two weeks later, Jason called to tell us about his “awesome” girlfriend and how it had come to pass that they were now dating. It was a special story, filled with Divine providence, perhaps an angelic encounter, and a happy ending. I won’t go into it here as they really should be the ones to share it. However, the conversation continued that day on the phone.

“So, Mom, since you are always telling me that I don’t keep you informed about things, I’m telling you now that we looked over her work schedule at the hospital and really, the best time for a wedding would be in January or August. I’m thinking that January would be better because then that would give me the chance to really spend the first months of our married life in Wichita supporting her during a very stressful time. If I can be supportive during such a stressful time as a doctor’s residency, then I figure we can survive anything.”

I did something I rarely do. I sat there without saying anything, my mouth open and my mind racing through the mental playback…..grabbing the three main points: wedding, January, Wichita.

“Um, Mom, are you OK? Aren’t you going to say something?”

“Son, you’ve done something that few have ever accomplished. You’ve left me speechless,” I stuttered. But then, all cylinders started firing. “You did say ‘wedding,’ right? Are you talking January of 2008 or some other year? And are you talking about Wichita, Kansas or some Wichita in Canada?”

“Right, I’m talking about a wedding. I’m planning to ask her to marry me. And it will be this coming January. I’ll be moving to Wichita, obviously, because she needs to finish her year of residency,” my son continued. “I’m planning to fly down to Kansas in a few weeks and meet her parents and also propose.”

“Oh, my goodness. This is fantastic. Congratulations! I’m so excited for you. Wait until I tell your father! Keep us posted and tell Laura congratulations, too.”

Yes, you read that right. My son is now engaged to a “Laura.” So our daughter Laura is marrying a “Jason” and our son Jason is marrying a “Laura.” And that is where the fun begins because now we find ourselves in the middle of the Name Game.

We’ve already decided that there is no easy way to differentiate between the Jasons. Both of them have been called Jay or Jase at one time or another by family and friends. So we have resorted to prefacing their names with “our” Jason and “your” Jason.

Now we have two Lauras. My husband helpfully pointed out that we wouldn’t be in this predicament if we had followed our original idea to have Athena as our Laura’s middle name. Since Jason’s Laura’s last name starts with a “B”, we could have simply said Laura “A” and Laura “B”. Yeah, well that would have only worked until Laura “B” got married.

“How about Dr. Laura?” my husband suggested. Hmmm, Naw! Sounded too much like a talk-show host or an advice columnist.

Jason’s Laura sweetly told us we could call her “Lola”, a family nickname. But I was a drama major and English major in college. I immediately thought of the musical “Damn Yankees” and the song “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets.” I just couldn’t think of my future daughter-in-law as the devil in red fishnet tights.

A good friend of mine was quick to point out that if I entered senility early, I’d at least have a good fighting chance of calling out a name that someone would respond to. Thanks, old friend!

The actress in me slipped through several characters, trying on salutations on the fly. There was the Southern Belle calling out “Honey” or, if I really wanted to lather on the cornpone, I could call them “Honey Chile.” How about the British “Luv?” There was even “Little Private Porterfield” from the childhood game I used to play with the children when I’d slip into drill sergeant mode and hold mock inspections in their rooms. There was only one problem with that idea. Neither Laura was little anymore and I wouldn’t be inspecting their rooms.

For now, I’ve just decided to call them both “Laura”, both “Daughter” and both blessings from God.

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