When I got married the first time I never doubted for a second that I would take my new husband's last name. I had no desire to keep my last name, to hyphenate or anything. It wasn't that I hated my maiden name. I just figured I'd take my husbands. Besides I figured my name was as Plain-Jane as they came, so a new name would be fun; exciting.
Then as I was going through the process of getting divorced, I had to fill out the paperwork and check the appropriate boxes of which name(s) I would go by. I again assumed I would keep my married name. After all, I argued, I had children with this last name, and I would want to keep it the same as theirs. I didn't want to upset them. Plus if I ever did get remarried, I'd probably change it then, so no use changing it more than necessary, right?
Well, AFTER the divorce my youngest asks if HER last name was the same as my maiden name since she lived with me. I told her "no", that her name hadn't changed at all. She then looked at me and said, "But yours did, right?" I explained to her that no, mine is still the same as hers. I think that actually confused her more! Apparently, she thought that my name reverted BACK to my maiden name automatically, just because I had gotten a divorce.
Then a few weeks ago, my oldest said I should have switched back to my maiden name. I thought that was sort of an odd statement. Here I thought I was somehow "protecting" them by keeping my name the same as theirs, and maybe they would have been okay with it after all. Maybe they are seeing that somehow I am NOT the same person I was when I was married to their father (thank goodness for that).
This I know. The more that time distances itself between me and that marriage, the less and less I feel like *that* person... the person with *that* name. Except, that is my name, isn't it? Legally anyway.
In all actuality, I now feel like the REAL me, only better; the OLD me, only newer. I am feeling like I am discovering the ME I was born to be. Funny, because I catch myself writing my maiden name All.The.Time. It's the name I have always tethered to my creative writing pieces, and thus it has never truly left me. And now it is the name I find myself telling people. I slip, I stumble, and I have to think... is this a "legal" question... do they need my "legal" name?
No... I don't think I will change it legally just yet. After all, it *would* be a pain to change ALL the forms, the id's, the bank statements, the credit cards, the gun permit, etc... not to mention all of the $10 fees to get NEW cards. Bleh. No thanks. But it's ok; I KNOW WHO I AM.
So, if per chance I slip and give you the "wrong" name... just know that I am still me... :)