With federally recognized marriage comes a plethora of rights and a windfall of financial benefits – not windfall enough to pay for Asher’s bar mitzvah, but enough to make a difference. At least we’re not working with the same inequality deficits before we wed in New Jersey. Now that I’m a Mrs., I could even take Gabriella’s last name with little effort.
I could have always become a Di Maggio, even when we were unequally gay married, but it would have taken paperwork and cash and a bit of hoop jumping to legally change my last name. Now, while there would still be a fair amount of admin to consider, it would be far easier.
My name and I are not really friends. Deborah Goldstein. Say it. It doesn’t really roll off the tongue. It’s an accountant’s name, which might not be so bad if I were an accountant. Furthermore, Goldstein is a German surname, and my father’s side of the family is Polish. Long story, but suffice it say, I feel no connection to it. That said, Deborah Goldstein is who I have been for fort… a number of years.
I cannot imagine myself a Di Maggio even though everyone else in my household bears the same name. And why not? Why not become a family connected? Practically speaking, it’s simply easier for a family to share one last name, especially when that last name is, let’s be honest, sounds pretty cool.
But going from Deborah Goldstein JEWISH ACCOUNTANT to Deborah Di Maggio ALLITERARILY ITALIAN feels put-on, not me and weird. The leap is too great for me. I’ve been a Jewish non-accountant all my life. Sure, others have done it, crossed over by marriage. From Hirsch to Flaherty or Shapiro to Rodriguez, they’ve embraced change, and I envy them.
Di Maggio is so Italian. So very not-Jewish.
“But your Jewish boys are Di Maggios!” Friends have pointed out as if to shine the light on some sort of flawed logic.
Our boys are Di Maggios in a way I could never be. I grew up in a Jewish home, raised by Jewish parents, surrounded by Jews, celebrating Jewish holidays, uttering Yiddish words and learning how to pun before I could spell.
Our boys make fresh pasta with their Italian mother and eat all their dinner when she says, “Mangia, amori.” They’ve learned to greet relatives with a kiss on both cheeks. And, said the Jewish non-accountant, we all have dinner on Christmas Eve with Gabriella’s side of the family – seven fishes and cuccidati (glorious Sicilian Christmas cookies that prove that God is Italian). Our boys are just as Di Maggio as the rest of La Famiglia.
While Deborah Di Maggio sounds like a pretty cool gal, Deborah Goldstein is pretty happy being Deborah Goldstein, even if she is not an accountant. And she will be be sure to bring her puns to Christmas dinner.