When you choose to re-marry, you are making a commitment to many new things in life. I’ve committed to taking something new; my husband’s name. At face value, I have no issue with being Nerissa Beste. In fact, I love the idea of taking Russell’s name. Perhaps it is the romantic soul in me, but taking his name will demonstrate outwardly what we have committed to one another. Yet, life is not always about what we want; sometimes, there are others we must consider.
We have been married for more than one year and I still have not gone through the steps to change my name. One part of me says it is just related to the time it takes and the organization of all the paperwork. But, the other part of me knows that my children will be affected. Currently, I share their last name (I took my first husband’s last name when we married). Sharing a last name makes it easier on my children; there are fewer explanations to be made when you have a mom with your last name. I know it is something my daughter has considered because she has mentioned it in conversation. I do love that she is so comfortable to express her thoughts and feelings about sensitive topics with me; it bodes well for her pubertal years! If I listen to my heart, it is her words that are really holding me back. Her concern is that we will no longer share something that is part of her identity; of course, she didn’t say it that way but that is what she explained to me in her ten-year old words.
So, how do I rectify this – Russell is wonderful in that he has never pushed the issue. Despite this, it does weigh on me. He has never asked me to change my name but I know it is what he wants. And, it is what I decided to do when we got our marriage license!
Sometimes, I wish I had never changed my name when I was first married. My daughter would have already faced the fact that we had different names; perhaps it would not have been an issue for her if she had grown up not knowing anything different. The cynic in me would suggest to any new bride that she keep her maiden name as there is a 50:50 possibility that she will face separation and divorce and have to deal with the name issue anyway! But, don’t forget, I have a very strong romantic side. It’s hard to think one should make a decision about their name based on considering a negative outcome like divorce.
Ultimately, legally, I have to do it; I put it on my marriage license! So, what does that mean? It means, I need to take the time to do it. To do the paperwork, but more importantly, to have the conversation with my sweet daughter that clearly has the same romantic soul as me.
What will I do? I will explain to her, that a name is not what makes us who we are. Our family is not a conventional family; what makes us who we are will never be a name. What makes us, will be our love for each other and the bonds we build over the years. I hope she will understand; if not now, later. Later, when she is dealing with the same question of what to do when she ties the knot!