At the time, mom taught CCD classes (Catholic religion classes for those who do not attend Catholic school), and I could tell she was doing some sort of lesson planning for them, since her newest* Saint of the Day book was on the coffee table. My nephew was laying on the floor, watching some video and his mom, my sister was also there.
*"Newest", because my mom owns something like eight of them.
As I sat down, she started to speak:
Sean, you know your brother has decided to join the priesthood. This presents us with a problem. I always figured that he would get married and have kids while you did... um... (hand gestures, followed by an awkward pause) That can't happen now. So, you have to have children to carry on the family name.
Well, I was stunned. First of all, I'm gay. No matter how many guys I have sex with, I'm not going to get any of them pregnant. (Nor will the impregnate me, you know, when they're on top.) Secondly, I'm the back-up breeder? What the Hell, mom? Third... one of my sisters had already had a child out of wedlock and he has the family last name.
So, I responded, "Mom, Bridget has already passed on the family name. Plus, she's good for another child or two without getting married."
Without missing a beat, my sister said, "Yeah, if I want to, sure."
Mom was horrified, but she kept pressing the issue.
I was stunned, but I could tell that she digging her heels in about this, so I knew I had to do SOMETHING to change her mind. Fortunately, I'd read all of mom's Saint of the Day books, and, as I remembered that, a plan started to form.
A few nights later, I was leafing through mom's newest Saint of the Day book when mom came in.
Me: Mom, I listened to what you had to say, and I agree. I should carry on the family name.
Me: Now this might be me thinking too far ahead, but I've been going through this Saint of the Day book for name ideas. I mean our family uses the same eight names over and over again, and I think it's time for a change.
Mom: That's not a bad idea.
Me: So for a boy... how about Irenaeus?
Mom: I... no.
Me: Polycarp? I think that's perfect. My boy Polycarp would NEVER get beaten up on the playground for that name.
Mom: If you think....
Me: And, for girls, I think I'd revive old Saxon names, like Sexburga and Wulfhilda.
Mom: These are names... saint names?
Me: Ooo... and if you read Wulfhilda's biography, all the women in her family had the prefix Wulf attached to their names. THAT'S PERFECT!
Mom: I fail to see how.
Me: Well, we could use it to revive all the old family names. I could hve a bunch of girls and name them Wulfevelyn, Wulfcecilia, Wulfvirginia, and, of course, the one named after you, Wulfpat.
Mom: I'm sorry, you think you're going to name MY grandchildren WHAT?
Me: I'm an adult, you really have no say in the matter.
Mom: Really? What do you think would happen to you if you did this?
Me: Oh, I would probably "vanish".
Mom: That's right. Remember, there's a crawl space under your grandmother's house.
Me: Mmm-hmmm (At this point, I was trying hard not to laugh. I was failing.) But don't you think it would be fun. You'd take my kids to church with you, and you'd introduce them. You'd say, "Here is my grandson, Polycarp, and my granddaughters Wulfcecilia and Sexburga. They're Sean's kids."
Me: And the family friend would just shake her head sadly and say, "You didn't have to tell us they were Sean's kids. We figured it out."
Mom left the room in disgust, while I cackled like a hyena. The subject was never brought up again.
For what it is worth, my brother quit studying for the priesthood, got married, and had two boys, neither of whom are named Polycarp. Some things, I guess, you have to do yourself.