I don't tend to put a lot of personal content into this blog of mine, but that's exactly what I have today. You see, yesterday my 4th grader daughter's school held a presentation for the students and their families on teaching writing to kids, which included some time for both parents and kids to do some writing. The topic was "write about your name":
When I was in college and I was very much in the mindset of considering men's and women's roles and the pressures of society, I stated (once, to myself) that when I got married I should take her last name. I try to take things I say seriously -- really I do.
When I did find the perfect woman and we decided to get married I considered that thought. But I just couldn't be comfortable with "Michael Smith" -- I didn't have a problem with subsuming my identity into hers, it was just that "Michael Smith" seemed to scream out "Ordinary!"
So we got married and neither of us changed our name. It was a couple years later before it occurred to me what I could do. Many people (my mother, for one) take a married name on the end, gaining an extra middle name. I could take "Smith" as an extra middle name.
Shortly after realizing this I went to renew my driver's license and brought my wedding certificate with me to the DMV. (That is how Pennsylvania handles name changes.) I tried to explain what I was doing to Rachel -- I'm not quite sure if she didn't believe me, wasn't interested, or what but I was the only one changing my name that day.
I went home and spent some time figuring out how I could change my signature to incorporate the "Smith". I have always used it since and I am quite pleased to have her name in mine.
Later, when we had children, Rachel changed her last name to "Chermside". She didn't add it on the end, she replaced the "Smith". So we still don't match -- I guess we were never any good at coordinating our names.
Michael Brooke Smith Chermside