Monday, March 15, 2010

I Went Out Of My Way To Marry Your Father



Seven plus years ago I changed my name.


Well, I got married and then I changed my name.

Courtney Jane Clark turned into Courtney Jane Kendrick.

I stood in lines, I filled out papers, I called my bank and my United Airlines Mileage Plus account. I presented a marriage certificate as proof, I made it all legal.

It was sort of sad, though. Not that I didn't want to change my name. I did. I just wanted it to be more momentous. I wanted to come home from milling around the Social Security office to a husband ready to toast to My Big Romantic Gesture. Or Sweeping Sacrifice. Or something. I worked all my life (up until that point) at molding a reputation for Courtney Clark, and now here I was willing to take on a new alias all for love. All for the love of Christopher Kendrick.

Courtney Kendrick

Or as my brother Topher sings it (to the tune of Jimmy Crack Corn):
Courtney Clark Kendrick and I don't care.
Courtney Clark Kendrick and I don't care.
Courtney Clark Kendrick . . .

. . . you get the point.

I have found it somewhat tricky to re-establish myself with a married name. I never know if I should use my maiden name when re-connecting with former acquaintances. I sometimes wonder to myself if people like my friend's parents would know my married name. Or my aunts or uncles. Or my old Sunday School teacher. I don't know if it is common, but I think it can be confusing. For twenty five years I was Courtney Clark and suddenly I am Courtney Kendrick (and who cares?)

Tonight I went to the Mortal Fools production of The Glass Menagerie. And for some brave reason I decided to go alone. This was a new deal in the life of Courtney Kendrick--to actually do something solo out in public. Courtney Clark never understood how people could go to the movies alone, but tonight Courtney Kendrick came to a fine understanding. Being alone is quite refreshing. Especially in public.

Before the play began I headed to pick up my ticket at Will Call from one of the producers. When it comes to acting/theater/performing circles in Utah I never know if I should introduce myself as Courtney Clark, Sister of Christopher Clark, Director Extraordinaire or Courtney Kendrick, Wife of Christopher Kendrick, Veteran Actor of Film/Theater.

But when I arrived at the window, the producer already knew who I was--not Wife of, or Sister of but me, Courtney Kendrick.

And I can honestly say for the first time in nearly eight years I felt like my name was mine, not borrowed, not rented, not requiring a ". . . but I used to be . . .", not just legally altered. It was more than sharing a last name with the man I love, but being that name completely.

I had arrived at a point I didn't even know I was headed.

(Perhaps it was just a bit ironic--in light of this enlightening--I went to see a play about a mother's desperate approach to marry off her daughter for the express purpose of financial, social and emotional security.)

In the end, Courtney Kendrick talked it over with herself and thought the play was really excellent.


*as Chup and I actually eloped, this photo is actually of Halloween of the same year.
Photos of our actually wedding may or may not exist.

95 comments:

The Bakers said...

I just wanted to say that I totally get the name thing. I am an only child (sorta), and was very attached to my maiden name of Marie Louise Juaire. Very french, very pretty. When I got married, I went from french and pretty to ho-hum. (My married name is Baker)
I love my husband, and the name is not bad, but I can relate to you on the whole "I used to be, or I'm the daughter/ wife of." When I was a Juaire, Everyone knew who I was. No one else had my name, and everyone knew my family. Now I get, "Are you the Bakers of such and such?" And I have to explain that, no, indeed I am not related to so and so. very frusterating.
For me, the realization that I am officially a Baker now, was after having my son. Knowing that he is a Baker, and yet still so very much mine, made me ok with the transition. Plus without the name change and the legal hula hoops they make you go through to change it. I wouldn't be a mom, or a Mrs. for that matter. And life is way more fun for us Mrs, Mommies!!!
No matter how we sign our checks, we will always be our Daddy's little Girls,and for me that is the most important part of it all.

Anonymous said...

Did you change your name when you were married the first time? If so, what impact did that have on taking on Chup's name?

Lucy said...

I love names! I so agree that it's hard to change it though. I got married about 5 months ago and still every Sunday I see that Sister Clark is directing the music in church and panic a little, because I used to be a Clark like you! (In fact, I was Lucy Clark, just like your sister and lived in Provo and every once in a while people would think I was her because I think she was a little more popular than I was...)

You eloped? Have you talked about this before-- I'm kind of new to your blog. I want to know more!

To Marie Baker-- I love your maiden name- such a nice ring to it! Poetic, really. In my family-- my entire extended family actually-- we use the mother's maiden name for every child. A suggestion at least for you, who talked about your son being a Baker, but also yours-- it's a way to be both! Just an idea.

Sabine said...

I am a lucky girl. My husband took my name and his mother has suuuuuch a problem with that *g* well, it is her personal problem, not mine ;o)

Sabine, from Berlin/Germany

Anonymous said...

oooh I wanna know about your elopement!

Op het platteland... said...

I know exactly what you mean. We got married only 6 months ago and I am still getting used to my 'new' name. I for a while even felt guilty towards my parents for 'abandoning' my maiden name. They don't care, obviously.
I still make mistakes though. Only last week I signed up for a monthly magazine to get it in the post yesterday addressed to A. Maiden name.

But I get used to it after seven years you say? Thanks, feeling better now.

Laura W. said...

Being semi-newly married (two years this coming October), I can totally relate to this. It's affected me way more than I ever thought it would. I'm still living near the vicinity of my hometown - and I feel like no one knows me anymore. That they hear my last name and are like, "Whose that?!" It's really strange....

Jodie said...

and Elopement!!!!! Please share that story!!
As for the name change, I understand what you are saying. I have been a "B" for almost 11 years, but I am still me! Names don't define me. I am my mother's daughter but now also my husbands wife. I found it a bit easier when my elder daughter started school, because the people I met them, never knew me any other wat.

Jodie said...

oops, I can't spell.
Should read "The people I met then, didn't know me any other way"

Anonymous said...

I cried the day I went to the Social Security office to change my name. We're talking, full fledged crying and emotional wreck while talking to my new husband on my cell phone. We live 2 hours from "home", and moved into our house after we were married, so people here only know me as Spring B. However, my work ID (which is NEVER checked) is still in my maiden name, as is one of my checking accounts. Partially because I'm lazy, partially because it's my little way of rebelling and holding on to Spring H. the carefree girl. I need to contact someone I've known over half my life, and just this morning I was trying to figure out how to tell her who I was. It's so hard. Add that I went from a 5 letter to an 11 letter, UGH!

a.men said...

I have felt this same way too! Especially when we moved back to our home town. It was hard to know exactly if people would know me by my married name.

Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

I felt the same way this year (in a similar situation) about my married last name. It felt like it was finally MINE.
In some countries (like where my husband is from) when a woman marries, she takes her married name, adds it after her middle name and her maiden name goes on the end (like yours would be Courtney Jane Kendrick Clark). Then all the children take this name. When my husband moved here, he dropped one of the last names, but had a very hard time doing so. It was weird for him to have to remove a name and I totally understood.
p.s. I go to the movies by myself a good bit and my philosophy is: "Well, I'm not going to talk to anyone while watching the movie anyway!" ;)
Glad you liked the play--it sounds thought provoking!

Patti Margarita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pilgrimama said...

I can identify with your feelings as I had them as a newlywed.

annie said...

Thank you, thank you for this post. You put so eloquently how I felt when my name changed-- it was positively traumatic going from Annie Sue Butterworth to Annie Butterworth Jones. JONES. My whole life I've been called syrup-y names, and now? Nothing. What can one say about Jones?

That being said, I've tried to relay my excitement and sadness about my name change to my husband, but the words always come out wrong. I love what my new name means, love that I now share my husband's name, but there is just a part of me that still really feels like Annie Sue Butterworth. And you know what? I think that's okay.

Ashley said...

Now I want to know about your elopement. My husband and I cam so close to doing it that I always feel so jealous of the people who actually followed through with it.

Our "story" was weird enough as it was without adding our families disowning us for eloping.

Way jealous though.

I am Lorinda W- you can call me LoW said...

I never knew that I was attatched to my last name until I married and changed it. It wasn't THAT big of a deal but it was..... different and a little sad.

The well rounded mom said...

My maiden name is Finnish and everyone spells it wrong, so I felt ever so lucky when I took the name Andrews. Now I think it's kind of boring. I can remember a few times when I've introduced my self as April Panttila and been embarrased and said, I'm sorry Andrews.Just plain old Andrews!

Anonymous said...

I never had that moment of feeling like it was my name. Always felt borrowed. So after ten years of marriage, I got my name back. It was like seeing an old friend I thought was gone forever. I love it, I say my name loudly and clearly because I know for sure it is mine.

Glad I tried it the other way for ten years, but so relieved and happy to be me again.

Gwenevere said...

I asked my husband to take my name. I didn't want to be BLAND, I gave in, My maiden name is now my middle name and I USE it.

My struggle with my new name was a lesson in, taking the name of someone else upon me". (Some of us are familiar with this weekly promise we make in Sacrament meeting or during Communion.)

I've enjoyed what I've learned and like most things, when a true sacrifice is made something greater is acquired....You lost your old name, gained a new and defined your identity in the process...that is pretty great, if you ask me.

sewmanybooks.blogspot.com

The Hopkins Home said...

I'm a different story - I couldn't wait to shed my maiden name. I have daddy issues though - mostly being that he is/was absent and I didn't want to tied to that dysfunction anymore. I had a hard time though when I realized that I share a name with the husband's family and not my own sister or mom anymore and I think when my girls get married I may feel a pang of sadness that they won't any longer be tied to us in that way...

Anonymous said...

I had a very boring maiden name... Wood. Started with a W so always at the end of the alphabet, end of the line, back of the classroom. Then I married an M and moved to the middle of the alphabet, but I didn't want to give up my maiden name, so I did the hyphenated thing. After my divorce, I met and married a G. From the moment I met him, I wanted his name (and him, obviously). I RAN to the DMV to change my name after we married, then I RAN to the SSA to get a new card. No hyphenating this time. My maiden name was reduced to a middle initial, and I never missed it. I felt like my new name was mine from the very beginning. I've had this name for almost 12 years now, and I still love it every day. It couldn't have been easier for me.

Nichole and Jeremy said...

this is funny..My husband was married before and his X-wife refuses to change her name even though she got remarried..because she does not want her kids to have a different last name then her..

So my husband and I joking around thought if she won't change hers maybe we will change ours.

We spent the next 20 min or so coming up with alternative last names for our family. And then I thought...Why not with each new union the couple comes up with their own last name? How cool would that be? Just thinkin!

jen said...

This is indeed a momentous day for you. Just wait until your daughter is preparing to leave the nest and change her own name. It's not quite as easy on you!

kwg said...

I changed my name because I wanted our whole family to be the same - not mommy different and everyone else the same... my husband was willing to take my name or meld our names or even come up with a new name (we've had a few friends do that)... but his name starts with a G and mine was a W, and I was tired of being at the end of the alphabet for EVERYTHING. Alphabet discrimination is real and it's annoying, and everyone who is a later letter can share stories about it!!!

Anyway... his name is weirder than mine - it's Dutch and everyone pronounces it like it's French. Oy. But I like the uniqueness of it! And it took me years to finally feel comfortable with it.

And I, too, made my maiden name my middle name. So every thing now says all of those names. (I shed my boring original middle name which had no significance to me whatsoever.)

Mother of 2 Fabulous Boys said...

You brougt sunshine to my morning :)Thanks for the story. I'm glad you are you. I had over weather or not to chance my name BACK to my maiden name when I got divorced. In the end I kept his name. And that's me Marshall....Mother of two Marshall boys. Not "this is sister.....blank and these are her children with differing last names."
It works.

Although it makes their father furious.

Butternut Sage Designs said...

Funny post today we all deal with that I think. I myself was a Lessa and went to a Centamore, get it? Bet you didn't. I have a sister in law whose name is Penny and she went to Lessa. SO I went from lesser to a cent a more and she went to a penny lesser....my daughter on the other hand was Lisa Marie Centamore nice ring, very Italiano meaning 100 loves and now she is a Sinkiewicz.....a what!!!!! Oh we should all pick our own names, ones with melodic grace don't you think? Nah, because someday all those sinkie witzes sound great when announced in full gala out in public...have a great day!!!!!

The Vintage Kitten said...

I kept my surname as Im the only person left in the family to carry it on....... If I didnt wish to remain anonymous I would tell you mine and my husbands surname and you would know why we didnt go for the 'double barrelled name' god it would be awful and a nightmare to spell

Amanda said...

It's only pretty recently that I started to feel some kinship to this married name of mine. I've had it for going on 7 years, and mostly, I feel like I don't know who this person is. I fought the whole thing madly, and fought the guilt I felt for feeling like I had to fight it madly.
I established a life and career for myself under that old name.
If you Google me under that old name, it's just me. Under this married name, there are 90 billion of me. I'm a bit irritated, still, when people ask me if I'm related to so-and-so same-last-name (not only no, but not related to my husband, either). I work to be more zen about it.
I guess I'm Amanda, and the rest of it is just (proud) affiliation, but it's an affiliation I'm slowly getting used to. Finally.

The Boob Nazi said...

I hate my last name because no one can spell or pronounce it correctly. I'm tired of saying, "F as in Frank" over and over again.

We live in a Zoo! said...

Its funny how our names define us. I married into a family that everyone knows. I say my name and I am almost always asked if I am related to such and so, which through my husbad I usually am. Its a big change from my maiden name, nobody asked if I was related to such an so then.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was your second marriage? Did you take your 1st husband's last name?

While my SIL was engaged she secretly had a hard time with the thought of taking a new last name. So when it came time to fill out all the paperwork when she got married she "mistakenly" forgot to change her last name. And that is exactly what she tells everyone who asks. Five years later she still has not made an attempt to change her last name. She married a guy who could care less either way. He married her and whatever her last name is is not going to change a thing.

Genavee said...

Both my husband and I changed our names to a hyphenated mymaidenname-his bachelorname (it just sounded best in this arrangement). We both wanted the same last name and neither wanted to drop ours, so this was the best solution.

I really love it. I like still having my name and all my identity that I've put in that, but I still have his name as part of me. It feels like me, still the same person i was before marriage, just with something awesome added on.

tharker said...

Great post! I was just the opposite though. I always felt like my maiden name just didn't fit. My mom had been married to my step dad (although I consider him dad) for most of my life, and I really just wanted their last name. I wanted to be a McBride more than anything!

So when I got married, I jumped at the chance of a name change, and never looked back. I love my last name, and now when I hear someone from high school refer to me as Tiffani Maiden Name, it just sounds weird.

Anne-Marie said...

Thank you so much for this post! I've been married for almost two years, and this name change business has rocked my world. If we didn't each have longish last names, I would ask that my husband and I both hyphenate. Sharing a life, sharing families, sharing names. That makes sense to me.

Andrea said...

I got married last year and had those same exact feelings. Luckily my new last name started with the same letter as my maiden name, so I didn't have to change my initials. But being as those my husband's name is Andrew and mine is Andrea...well, that makes things a bit difficult.

Svedi Pie said...

I get this a lot. I loved my maiden name. I was a one of a kind, especially the last name (Svedi - you can see I still keep it around). But I lived in Taiwan for a few years where the tradition is everyone keeps their family name. I also saw how divided families can be there. Loyalties ran mother to son, not husband to wife. (It has a lot to do with the entire culture, not just not changing the family name - but I saw that as a byproduct of that phenomenon) I hated that. So while my husband didn't care if I changed my name or not, I did because I didn't want to be reminded or feel like I was a part of that. On a side note I love Taiwan, love many things about their culture - just not that thing.

So now I'm a plain old Anderson - so common. But he's worth the sacrifice and I love the jump in the Alphabet - and I keep the maiden name for informal things - like blogs- because I love it so much.

Laura said...

Geneologically speaking, it is kind of important to stay faithful to SOMEBODY'S name. Names are fascinating, along with histories attached to them. Hence, everyone's curiosity about your first marriage and also your elopement.
I've been married for 17 years, use my maiden name as my middle name and my hubby's name as my last one and have never had any problem with it. Except sometimes I STILL make a mistake and sign my name the old way. :o)

Emily said...

I felt the same way too. I had been a Johnson for 21 years and now I am a Hunsaker (which is always mispronounced). I remember thinking that after I had been married for 21 years and 1 day I would finally feel like a Hunsaker. But when I started babysitting two little girls that only knew me as Mrs. Hunsaker, it actually felt AWESOME! My middle name is now my maiden name. I will always be a Johnson girl. I now realize that while the name change is a big thing, bigger than I realized it would be, I am me no matter what. But the most precious moment is when they handed me our first child...that was the best Hunsaker moment!

Natalie | The Bobby Pin said...

Does it take 7 years? Aw snap. I'm on year three and I still have identity crisis moments

elka said...

great, now jimmy crack corn is in my head...

brandi said...

I drug my heels for months, but I realized just how much it was hurting my husband and I finally got it taken care of. He felt like I wasn't committing to the marriage by not changing my name. It has taken me time to feel comfortable with it, but I'm getting there.

Kauer Family said...

I never even though about not changing my name when I got married. The hard part though is I grew up on Kau Trail and I married a Kauer...I had many a times where I would sign my name Kau Trail instead of Kauer it was a good laugh!

Anonymous said...

I DIDN'T change my name when I got married. I hadn't actually made up my mind, but when I went to sign the marriage certificate I signed it Katherine S. because that's my name- I'm not Katherine B. Why would I sign the marriage certificate with one name and then change it to another because of the marriage? My husband married me, therefore I signed my name and kept my name. It turned out to be a surprisingly simple and profound realization that Katherine S. was my name and nothing, not even marriage, would change that. Now, do I get bent out of shape if someone calls me Katherine B? Of course not, and sometimes I will even go by my husband's name for simplicity's sake. I must confess, however, that I do get a wicked delight in stressing that I am still Katherine S. to my mother-in-law ;)

Ginny said...

Loved the post! In some ways it was hard for me to change my name...in others, not. I LOVED my maiden name. It brought with it a LOT of conversation. If you are a Harry Potter fan, you'll understand. Ginny Potter :) It was fun when I would tell people my name and their eyes would light up...like really?? Anyways, my last name is Moses now. I love it equally as much. And my husband teases me that I'm just jumping from one great book to the next! So I think I'll keep it for a while. Except I dread the day when I will become Grandma Moses.....

Amber said...

I loved my maiden name because people could remember it. I would always say: "Amber White, two colors," and no one ever forgot. I changed my name when I got married and I have no good way for people to remember Amber Robbins. It's been almost 4 years, and it still makes me sad....but oh well, I love my husband and that's all that really matters.

annie_a said...

I didn't know you could still take your husband's name in the States.
it's not done anymore where I live.

personally, I wouldn't have changed it anyway. I already had a son from another relationship when I got married, and he bears my name (and his father's).

maybe because of my previous life as a single mother, I have always wanted very much to retain my own identity.

I had a daughter with my husband, and she bears his name but not mine - that decision was only made because the combination sounded too weird (my name is French, his is English).
I regret that decision, though, since my children have completely different family names. the confusion at every school, doctor's office, etc. got old fast.

ForeverRhonda said...

As I am in the midst of wedding planning PLEASE PLASE PLEASE tell your elopement story! We are at less than 90 days to go and all I really want to do is run away and get married on some totally fabulous beach barefoot.

Tiffany Fackrell said...

I NEVER know how to introduce myself when I go back to my home town. it is especially hard since we both grew up in the same town and he has a sister with the same name as mine. I ALWAYS stutter and it drives me crazy because I never know what to say. over the phone is the worst!

Sunny Girl said...

My favorite name story is when my husband went to visit his mother at the school where she taught shortly after she remarried.When the office secretary asked if he wanted to know where Mrs. Olson's room was, he said, "No, I am looking for my mom." He had forgotten that she had a new last name!

Emily G. said...

I went from a not to common, but not too unusual either, A name. I was always first. Then I married a G, with a highly unusual Italian name that NOBODY can spell or pronounce. I like the name but I strongly dislike my husband's family. Sometimes the fact that I no longer share my beloved family's name and do share the name of people I can't stand bothers me. But I love my husband and overall I am happy with my name. When I think about all his awful family I just think that we are a new family, and hopefully we will make the name better by being good people.

Sunny Girl said...

The funniest name story I know...shortly after my husband's mother (who had long been a widow) remarried, he went to visit her at the school where she taught. Someone began talking to him about Mrs. Olsen as if he knew who she was. He soon interjected, "Who is Mrs. Olson?" and the reply came back, "Your mother!"

Jill said...

I have got to hear the elope story.... That doesn't happen very often. What did yours and Chup's families think?? This topic sounds fun.

Sarah Jane said...

Love this. I didn't change my name when I got married. We took each others last names as middles names. Then I changed my last name. Which cost a lot of money and I had to prove I wasn't a felon. Then named my first son my maiden name. Goodness. This is a blog post in itself!:)
Glad you went to the play be yourself. I love going to movies by myself- especially when I'm sick.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if this is a regional thing. I haven't met someone who changed their name in a very long time!

Brandon and Bethany said...

First of all: I really did marry my Father, but didn't realize until after I was married and they started spending time together.

Second, maybe you've told this story before, but I would love to hear the eloping story.

JennJenn said...

I am a newly wed and have really found myself struggling with the name change...I feel like I am supposed to be a different person now, and am not quite sure who that person is. Thanks for your post, I am relieved to know that others have felt a similar confusion, and I am glad there is a point where it feels more natural.

2busy said...

I think it is hilarious and romantic that you two eloped.

PJ and Annie said...

I must be the odd man out. I didn't at all feel weird or bad about changing my name. I completely dropped my maiden name. If I call someone from home I just say my first maiden then last, I love my married name! It never occurred to be that other women might have issues with it.
A teacher from my old high school and his wife flipped for what last name to take. Heads his name tails her name. She won.

Nicole said...

Sometimes I go through name confusion. I've gone by Nicole Watson, Nicole Perry, and Nicole Bullock in my life. And people still call me by all three names (although I will always correct them if they call me by my former married name)When my husband adopted my daughter (born to my first husband, but now totally out of the picture) the name change seemed like everyone in the family had the right names.

We are The Bullock Family.

(and I go places alone all the time. With kid in school and husband gallivanting the east coast, I'd do nothing if I waited for somebody to do it with me)

Carole Clark said...

I had the most fun at the social security office when I went to change my name...those words will probably never be typed again. I was waiting patiently for my name to be called when a younger girl jumped out of her seat (she was on a cell phone) and yelled "Well fine! I'll just stay a man then!" Everyone turned around and she burst out the door continuing to yell. I must note though, that she did not appear in anyway to be a man. The conversation that this started made the time pass very quickly.

Anonymous said...

Most people think I'm crazy, but I have 4 names. The first 3 are the ones my parents gave me (first middle and last), and the last 1 is my husband's name... I just tacked it on the end there. So now I have 2 middle names, or 2 last names, depending on which state or federal agency your asking. :-) As all 4 names appear on every legal document I have, at any given time I can be whoever I want. I never have to choose my old self or my new self... there's just me. Although, it's a safe bet that when my husband is in trouble, I definately maiden-name it. :-) Even the dog has both of our names. When he's naughty, he belongs to my husband, and when he's good... he's all mine! LoL

Candice said...

In my family the women drop their middle names when they marry and use their maiden name as their middle name, i.e., my mother was born Marianne Eloise Dexter. When she married she became Marianne Dexter LaPrade. Just to further confuse the matter, my paternal grandmother had no middle name so her maiden name automatically became her middle name when she married. I have never married so I will have my maiden name until the day I die.

Karen said...

For the first 10 years everytime someone said "Sister Cole" I looked around for my MIL! I did finally get used to it and being 'known' by that name!

metrochic said...

there are lots of posts of yours i love. but this one? this one is by far my very most favorite. mostly because i am a hyphenated married woman who, now that the name on her social security card is two lines long, wishes she'd have just given in and changed her name. <3 this post.

Katherine said...

I think that for me, changing my name was sort of like a fresh start. It was like my public entrance into the world apart from my awkward teenage and college self and all of those stupid things I did once upon a time. Also, I was happy to have a name that people could pronounce - and that wasn't the German word for liver.

Ms. LaPointe said...

I married my college sweetheart and took his name gladly b/c although I adore my fam, I felt restrained by its name. When I divorced, I kept his name because it was who I was professionally.

However, a decade later, I was SO ready to leave that name behind and did last August when I married my Matty and started a new life with the best guy (and name) yet: my maiden was Ali Kline, then I was Ali Weiss but now I'm Ali LaPointe and it's just so me!!

Amy said...

I had a very unique maiden name and now have a very common married name. I had a hard time at first with a little identity crisis and it didn't help that someone with my new name was bouncing checks right after I got married and I was getting calls about it. It worked out though and now I'm good with it!

Amy said...

Oh yeah, also, elope story please!

Lauren said...

I am surprised to hear you eloped - were you not getting along with your family? That seems hard to imagine. OK, I will be the evil one and admit that I don't like my married name for 2 reasons - no-one can spell it (it is really annoying), and it always makes me think of my mother-in-law, who I DON'T LIKE. I know, I'm going to hell.

amyinbc said...

I would love to hear your elopement story! I too eloped with my hubby and married in Hawaii, just the two of us. Low stress as we both desired :)

I kept my maiden name and added his. Figured I was 26 and had lived a long time with that name, not willing to give it up.

Nowadays I am legally Amy Name Name. At the kids' school I am Amy our shared last name and professionally, Amy my original last name. Works for me.

J&Jchambers said...

this is the first time i have commented although i read you often and love everything you write. But this resonated especially with me today. I made a phone call to the mother of my childhood friend to find her phone number and i introduced myself with my maiden name, assuming she would not recognize my married name. But she did recognize my voice.. so what's in a name? But i totally understood this post and loved it as i do all of your posts. Oh and i have a little 19 month old boy that i often notice has the same clothes as the chief, and blonde hair with big brown eyes.. which i agree-they're the best!

Amanda said...

You really should have spent more time and been more picky and just do what I did, marry someone with the same last name! Problem solved. I suppose I could hyphenate........ (also, if it turns out we are related, we live in Tennesse so we are good! :)

Wendi said...

We always wished we had eloped. Cute picture, by the way. :)

*tif* said...

Ok I think I read most every comment and the most disturbing one rings in right about here "First of all: I really did marry my Father, but didn't realize until after I was married and they started spending time together.

Second, maybe you've told this story before, but I would love to hear the eloping story."
Can there really be a Second after that announcement minus the explanation? Did she maybe write something she didn't mean to write?
But back to your post. I felt the same way which is why I have so many names now. I am happy after 9 years and 3 kids that I did change it (not that I considered doing anything else) because it's nice to feel like we are a unit. A family. And now I still have my own identity, a new one. Also facebook brought the maiden name back, thanks fb!

lovinglife said...

i loved my maiden name "spencer" so much and was sad to see it go. so, i named my son that as his first name. now, i feel like it will live on and it will always be part of him. clark would be a great first name for a boy!! is it already taken??

Anonymous said...

,,,oh, do tell the elope story,,,inquiring minds want to know,,,decided at a very young age that i would never change my last name,,,never, never, ever,,,

Emily said...

I kept part of my identity when I married by having my maiden name as my middle name. That way you can have your past and future with you at all times. It is a simple fusion.

Jillian P. Phippen said...

I'm a teacher... And my last name is notoriously hard to pronounce. I use my maiden name and my last name, and I do not hyphenate, and I see that more and more now that it's become a part of Facebook. More names, not fewer, is becoming the trend. I love my name, and I knew I was keeping mine as a middle name, so it was no big deal, but I totally understand the identity issue. :o) Now. If I could just get phonics to work for everyone, the difficulty of my name might not matter. Did I mention I teach high school? My married name is still really hard for students to pronounce. SIGH.

Amy B. said...

I love that you dressed up as a married couple for halloween that year...hilarious!

Anonymous said...

I did not change my name when I got married, that just seemed weird to me. But I agreed to give my kids my husbands last name and thus now use my married name because I do want the same name as my children. Thus to the person whose husband's ex doesn't want to change her name, I can't really blame her. There is nothing wrong with deciding to keep the same last name as one's children and it makes perfect sense that she would 'refuse' to change it.

Julie said...

Wait, you eloped and then dressed up as a bride and groom for Halloween the same year? If that is true (and I hope it is) that is a fabulous idea! And I need to hear more about it.

Anonymous said...

Tif, I think she meant "I really did marry my father" as in "I married someone exactly like my father". That is why in the second part of her sentence, she says "But I didn't realize until they started spending time together". The "they" in that sentence is her husband and father. I believe she means to say that she didn't realize she'd married someone exactly like her father until her husband and father started spending time together.

Thought I'd clear that up for you!
:)

brandi said...

I've already commented, but I want to comment again, lol.

I think the whole idea (and a good on in my opinion) of changing your last name is for genealogical reasons. In fact, I think that's the point of last names period.

The tradition in Hispanic cultures (at least here in South Texas) is for the woman to make her maiden name her middle name. Again, for genealogical reasons.

I considered doing that, but I really love my middle name, and I didn't want a big long hyphenated name so I just went ahead and did it the traditional way.

I think we as a society take for granted how valuable our heritage is and how much history is embedded in our last names.

Mommy Bird said...

I totally know how you feel. When I got married my last name went from 13 letters to just 5. I get myself a monogramed key chain with my new initials on it just to remind myself of my new identity. Every time I open my door or start the car I think of that time in my life.

Maybe you can recycle Clark and use it for new-little-one's name

Nat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
marichucky said...

I was born in Barcelona, Spain. We women don't ever change our surname. In fact, spanish people has two surnames: the first one from the father, the second one from the mother (and we can change the order if we want). I think this is the reason why the vast majority of us don't have a second name.
I got married three years ago, and I can't imagine myself with a different surname. In fact, I don't understand why a woman, only for being married, has to change her name. Would men do this?
It's curious, this cultural issue is absolutely understandable in Spain.

will and tiff said...

so i am a silent blog reader. i prefer to read what you have to share than to writing what i have to share. but tonight i wanted to share - i am SUCH a fan of yours.

and i love the title of this post. thanks for being a part of my evening ritual, you and your sis :>

thanks for being you.

Em said...

i got married just as i was applying for college graduation and i was HEARTBROKEN that emily "gibson" was going to get all of the credit that emily "ryan" did. funny.

Kara Herron said...

I've been Kara Herron for so long now (25 years in December), that I thought I'd actually forgotten my maiden name. But, recently I went to get photos I'd ordered at Costco and couldn't find them. We looked and looked. Then, we found them. Under "A" for Kara Anderson. Yep, without even thinking, I typed in Anderson. Geez.

Julie said...

Oh I love that you guys eloped! My sister eloped. It was awesome!!!!! Happy Anniversary to you guys!

Anonymous said...

When I got married I did take my husband's name but I also kept my own as a middle name. I was in school so I decided to keep my maiden name. I had a hard time with the idea that I was supposed to abandon my maiden name. The surprising part for me was how much it bothered so many people that I didn't completely drop my maiden name (primarily men). It is an interesting cultural dynamic and I think many (not all) men feel threatened by the idea of wives not taking their last name. For me it was such a struggle because I felt that my last name not only represented me but MY family and MY heritage and I was asked to give that up. It's something I still struggle with. Last year a church clerk noticed that my maiden name was still on my church record (as my middle name) and assumed it must be a mistake and almost removed it. That was another experience that left me baffled.

Tally girl said...

Interesting post! I took a good long while to change my name, mostly because it's just such a pain and I didn't want to pay to change my passport, and also because I wasn't much interested in my DH's name. I got around to it a year or two after having kids and it was still just as big of a pain as it would have been earlier.

I do want to point out, however, since some are commenting on this, that in the LDS church your maiden name is what you are tracked with after you are dead. Think about it...geneology would be impossible if we dropped the maiden name.

And pretty please....do tell the elopement story!

Tally Girl said...

One more point...in some states you must take your maiden name as your middle name (or you could always choose to keep it as surname). Probably smart for tracking purposes. This is the case where I live and it made it really easy for me to decide to drop my given middle name since I'm definitely not interested in writing out four names every time I fill out a form.

SuiGeNeRiS Speaks said...

After I got married, I wanted a while to change my name - mostly because we had to wait to get a certificate that the bank etc would except - but also because it freaked me out!! Moreso than the actual wedding....(second time commitment was hard for me). I had previously felt like I was in name limbo, I wasn't my maiden name anymore - I felt my comfortable with my married name, because with that came all the experience that I had gained through those years, and it was the same as my kids. It kinda felt like I was taking a huge leap of faith accepting my husbands name.(trust issues...) I finally did it, and it feels great - although a little weird that I have a different last name to my children.