Take that, Schwarzenegger! Arnie and Maria's 17-year-old son Patrick changed the name on his Twitter account to Patrick Shriver, dropping his dad's last name. It's sweet that the kid wants to support his mistreated mom, and I don't blame him for wanting to distance himself from his cad of a dad.
But as someone who once walked in Patrick's shoes (or a similar pair), I'm hoping Maria can talk him out of making any permanent legal changes just yet.
Of course Maria has more than enough on her plate already. Dealing with your own heartbreak while helping your kids to cope with a major family crisis has got to be one of the hardest tasks a mother can be faced with, and she's forced to pull off this Herculean feat in the public eye. Besides Patrick, Arnold and Maria have a 21-year-old daughter, Katherine.
It's kind of amazing that Maria's navigated this whole thing as gracefully as she has thus far. If Patrick told his mom about changing his last name, I'm sure her initial reaction was one of simply not knowing how to react. Any sentence starting with "Think about how that would make your dad feel" would go over like a lead balloon right about now (if she could even manage to spit out those words). I imagine everybody's way too raw to be anywhere close to rational just yet.
Somewhere down the line, though, if Patrick sticks with his decision to drop the "Schwarzenegger," maybe Maria will have the presence of mind to pull him aside and suggest he reconsider. I had a cad for a dad, too, and at a certain point in my teen years, I also contemplated changing my last name. I didn't go through with it because the process seemed like too much of a hassle, and I'm thankful for that today. As a teenager, I didn't know that I would reconcile with my father in just a few short years, and that we'd develop a closer relationship than I ever would've thought possible. Now that he's gone, his surname feels like an incredibly valuable gift. I would never give it away.
Someday, Patrick might feel the same way about "Schwarzenegger," no matter how much he loves his mom.
What would you do if your kid wanted to change his last name?
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