What’s in a name?

My recent wedding, three days ago, and the name change process that I am currently undergoing, has left me thinking about the significance of my last name.

For long as I have known my new husband, I knew that I wanted to marry him, and take his last name. It’s not that my last name is horrible, it’s not. I grew up with that last name and it’s become a part of me. It’s the name I share with my father, my grandfather, my grandmother, my uncle, and my cousins. But I have had 15 years to think about whether or not I would take his last name, and in my heart I have always known that I would change my name to his when the time came.

Ever since we became engaged in September of last year (On the 15th anniversary of the beginning of our relationship) we have joked about changing both of us changing our last names to Doodlebop. It just seems like a cool last name to have. We didn’t do it, because it is pretty silly, but there’s a part of me that thinks of myself as Mrs. Doodlebop. That’s the silly, ridiculous part of me that I have in common with Mr. Doodlebop. (my Mr Doodlebop, not the one from the children’s pop band)

To be honest, after 15 years together, and eight of them living in a home that we bought together, I didn’t really expect things to feel different. But somehow they do. I feel more like a partner to Mr Doodlebop than I ever have before and I would be hard-pressed to explain why.Now that the time has come to change my last name to match my husbands, I’m discovering just how many places that my surname is recorded. At work, it is the pension plan, the network, my Blackberry, IP phone, pension, health care coverage, supplementary insurance. That’s not even all of them, that’s just at work.

I also have to change my bank accounts, my credit cards, investment accounts, Airmiles card, Sephora card, drivers license, passport, Gmail account, Facebook (done). Basically anywhere I have an online presence, I need to change my last name. I’m sure I’ve only covered half of the accounts I need to update! It’s also taken me 30+ years to create my totally illegible signature and now I have to come up with a new one!! Although, my signature is illegible enough that I probably even need to change it!!

I should note that I really don’t have to change my name online or anywhere else, however I really want to. To me, it forms part of the next phase of our life together as man and wife.

This is not to say that I think a woman is obligated to change her last name to match that of her spouse, I don’t feel that way at all. This is a choice that I have made, because I have always known I wanted to do it. And as much as I love my new last name, and I love it when people call me Mrs. XXX. It does feel a little odd to have to come up with a new signature and no longer use the surname that I have had for the last 43 years.

Am I a different person because I am changing my last name? I don’t think so, but it does make me feel closer to my in-laws now that we share a common last name even though my brothers and sisters in-law have always made me feel like one of the family.

To be honest, after 15 years together, and eight of them living in a home that we bought together, I didn’t really expect things to feel different. Somehow they do. I feel more like a partner to Bryan than I ever have before and I would be hard-pressed to explain why.

But I do know that the having same last name as my husband, makes me feel closer to him, and to me that’s what our marriage is all about. Being closer to each other, loving each other, and sharing common goals in the continuation of our journey together. Mr and Mrs Doodlebop, together forever and ever, and the following Tuesday.

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