My Last Name

Published December 9, 2012 by S

I know I shouldn’t let it bother me, but it does bother me!

What you ask?

When I receive mail addressed to “Sara W—-” instead of my Legal hyphenated last name.

Since I was a little girl, I always knew that I would not give up my last name, my fathers name.  I was given that name at birth, and it is as much a part of me as my blue eyes, or my own children.

It might not seem like a big deal to most people, but to me it is.  Getting married shouldn’t require you to give up a part of yourself, but should add to who you are.

And on a less philosophical level, I just think its an odd practise and don’t want to do it!  I like my last name.  It Latvia it might be as common as Smith or Jones here in Canada, but I like the way it sounds, and looks.  I like that I have to spell it out to people because although its a simple enough name, it tricks strangers into thinking it should be trickier.

Legally when I got married, I hyphenated in order to add my husbands name to my own. This was decided years before our marriage when we were naming our daughter.  I really wanted my name to be a part of her legal name on her birth certificate, but whether or not she uses it as she gets older is up to her.  There is no doubt that my husbands name is simpler, and just all around easier, but for all eternity K——will be on her birth certificate.

Mike’s only request in naming is that we all share the same last name.  To him that was important (and I totally get that) but to me it wasn’t such a big deal.  I grew up in a household where we had 3 different different last names amongst 4 people.  I shared my fathers last name, my brother has his fathers last name, and my mother goes by her maiden name.

I never thought any of this to be strange, it was simply always been the way it was.  Having different names didn’t make us less of a family, and certainly didn’t change the love we all felt for each other.

So, Mike and I went the hyphen route.  My last name went first, but only because it sounded better when said out loud. When we got married, I legally changed mine on most things to the hyphen, but for simplicity, at work and when I introduce myself, I only use my maiden name.  I like the hyphen, but its just so darn long sometimes!!

So back to the original point of my post…It drives me crazy when people refer to me as “Sara W—-“!  (except for one former co-worker that always calls me that, but I believe it to be more of a long running friendly teasing joke).

I get that strangers would assume, especially if they know my husband or see his ID with his non-hyphenated name, that my name is his name…and I let it go because its no big deal and thats what we were raised to see as “normal”, but when friends and family send mail to “Sara W” or Mr and Mrs Michael W—-“…it bugs me a bit, because THEY KNOW!!

Most people simply address things to the  “K—–W—- Family” and that is fine, especially since when I put return address on letters I simply put “KW Family” as well.

I don’t mean to make a big thing about this, but there are some die hard people that REFUSE to acknowledge that I retained my Maiden name…and those same people address letters/cards to my kids just using the “W—-” name.   It might seem that I am being overly sensitive, but Mike and I thought long and hard about our kids legal names, and I find it a bit rude to see it ignored by those that are aware of it.

If my kids decide on their own that they only want to use one or the other down the road…thats fine by me, but in the meantime please respect our choice and call them by the names that we gave them and that they call themselves.


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