What is in a name?

© Strelok | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

© Strelok | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

With my first marriage, at the naive age of 22, I quickly changed my name.  I had two reasons for doing so, 1) my maiden name was constantly butchered by the tongues of the northeast, not being used to seeing Hispanic last names 2) I guess I was still in the “rebellion from the parents” stage and wanted a new identity and 3) My former husband was very vocal about the change of my name in the event that we had kids.

When I got divorced at age 27, I couldn’t wait to change it back.  1) I hated the daily reminder of my failed marriage every time I signed my name on nursing notes and 2) no one in Texas knows how to pronounce a French sounding last name.

When my husband proposed to me in 2011, I was again faced with the name change dilemma.  What would I do after the wedding?

My husband is Italian.  Second generation Italian.  His entire name is extremely ethnic Italian, not just the last name.  So ethnic that he goes by a nickname in his day to day life.  I am sure that most of our friends do not know his “legal” name.

We have been married for 8 months and I still have not changed my name.

My second husband could care less that I share his last name.  It is just a non issue.  To him, it doesn’t reflect my commitment to him and our family.  If we ever have kids,which I hope we will, they will obviously have his last name.

Since I live in Texas now, there are several (hundred, thousand?) people with my last name, obviously most of my extended family.  I was amazed in the first few months after changing back to my maiden name that no one butchered it.  White, Asian, Hispanic, all colors of the rainbow seemed to understand the correct pronunciation.  It helps that there is a chain of eateries in the local area that is owned by a very distant cousin who shares my last name.

Again, for me, changing my last name means changing my nursing license.  Going to the Social Security office, going to DPS, going to the bank and making copious copies of the marriage license and SS card to prove the change to every other entity that is in my name.

At the pharmacy, they refuse to change my name back to my maiden name because I filled prescriptions there under the pre-divorce name.  So if I change my name AGAIN, I will now have a very long and multi-ethnic name attached to my medications.

Also, my husband’s ex wife, and mother of his child, still uses his last name.

That just feels icky to me.  There shouldn’t be two Mrs. _____ who care for my bonus child.  Confusing as hell.  And I wouldn’t put it past her to attempt to impersonate me to get information that she should not have access to.  Of note, my husband’s mother (also Mrs.____) passed away last summer.

But, the major problem with being married and retaining my maiden name is that people who are trying to be polite, call me “Mrs. insert maiden name here”.  That effectively makes me my mother and my grandmother.  Both wonderful women, but quite awkward to hear.

However, recent events regarding my daughter (who obviously has my ex-husband’s last name) might push me toward the name change.

Her sperm donor consented to termination of his parental rights toward her.  In order for that to occur, my husband needs to adopt her.  And we will presumably change HER last name.

I can either change my name with her, and all parties in this household will be under the same last name, including the cat, or she can just change it and I’ll be the odd (wo)man out.

Or I can hyphenate.  This is the most attractive to me.  I can hyphenate the maiden and married last names.  I would still use my maiden name for any writings I produce.

I want to do SOMETHING to signify the legal adoption and “official” sanction of my husband as my daughter’s father.  But am I ready to give up the last name I have used for 25 of my 30 years?  And fought so hard to get back?

I have time.  My goal is to have the adoption completed by the end of the year.  Maybe I’ll put it to a family vote.


2 thoughts on “What is in a name?

  1. Hmmm.. quite a decision. That’s really exciting your husband is going to be adopting your daughter! What does she think about it? That’s REALLY strange to me the pharmacy won’t fill prescriptions with your maiden name. What do they do when people get married?

    • What happened was that I had switched over to my maiden name and the docs were writing scripts based on my new name. Then I had to go to the ER (my daughter gave me a concussion) and the hospital I went to had me down as my married name. Because I was so out of it, I didn’t notice that they had used my married name on all the scripts. So the pharmacy started filling the scripts under a hyphenated maiden-former married name. And they haven’t switched it back. I think I’ll have to spell it out in writing.

      And yes, I am thrilled about the adoption. Sunshine is thrilled too. She said “I’m going to have a real daddy now!

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