Well, it finally happened. Both my kids now know that my last name is different than theirs.
First, I need to thank everyone who has been praying from us since first learning that I would not take my husband’s last name. I know this was really hard on you. You shook your heads, you shrugged your shoulders, you didn’t know what to say except, “I’ll pray for you.”
From the bottom of my heathen heart, thank you. I think “saving married couples with different last names” is at the top of God’s priority list because of people like you. Sure, there are kids who don’t have anything to eat, but we really should focus on my last name.
Speaking of children, the concern you have directed toward mine has not gone unnoticed. In fact, many of you, upon learning that I wouldn’t be taking my husband’s last name, immediately asked aghast, “But what about the CHILDREN???”
I am well aware of the statistics that say that children whose parents have the same last names grow up to be doctors, lawyers, waitresses, teachers, politicians, accountants, nurses and pirates. Don’t think for one second that I didn’t research the effect that my selfish act of not changing my name would have on my future children.
Did you know that children whose mother does not share their last name are more likely to not have a last name that’s the same as their mothers than other children? What’s worse, sometimes the children are exposed to the thinking that last names don’t matter as much as love. They are taught that, to quote some idiot who clearly never had any success, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
I knew all this when I made the decision to keep my own name. I knew the risks we were taking. I knew there was a chance that my children could eventually feel, gulp, NOTHING, about it.
And now, here we are. They both know. It’s out there, in the open, our family’s shameful secret.
My son, who is in kindergarten, fully gets it. We sat down together and wrote out everyone in our family’s full names. He, my husband and my daughter all share a last name, and mine is different. He looked up at me with his big eyes and said, “Is there one ‘i,’ or two?”
He went about his business, drawing a picture of our family holding hands, and I couldn’t help but notice that absolutely nothing was amiss with him. There is a nagging thought in the back of my mind that he realizes that I’m still his mother, and that nothing has changed, and that this is completely normal because: logic.
My 3-year-old, on the other hand, didn’t draw pictures. She didn’t ask me how to spell my name. Instead, she repeated my full name, gave me a high five and ran into the playroom. Poor thing. Her little brain just can’t understand yet that because of Mommy’s last name, we wouldn’t sit next to each other if places that seated people insisted on seating them by last names alphabetically, which literally never happens. She can’t yet comprehend that my last name will have no effect on her future or wellbeing.
So again, thank you. THANK YOU for your patience and your understanding as my family is navigating this completely mundane and uneventful experience. Maybe, one day, we’ll all come to terms with the fact that someone’s name is wildly inconsequential. Until then, I’ll pray for you.