Sometimes, I feel really inspired and organized and I write out a whole list of things to write on my blog. Then there are days where I push that list aside and just write about something brewing in my mind. Taking my husband’s last name is something I thought about for a long time, and even though it seems common and normal I’m so happy I made the decision to take his last name.
A few weeks after being married, fresh from our honeymoon we stopped by a very close friend’s house. Our friend’s parents were home and they congratulated us and all that good stuff. Then our friend’s mom asked, “So who took who’s last name?” To some that might seem like an odd question but it totally makes sense. These days it’s not exactly required or always expected. Sometimes people hyphenate or combine. Sometimes each spouse just keeps their own name. It’s a personal choice.
In the case of my friend’s mom she kept her maiden name and did not take her husband’s last name. She carries her name proudly. When she asked that question I had a huge story I could have told her, but it caught me off guard and I said something like, “Oh I took his name, I didn’t really like my last name. It didn’t mean anything to me.”
That explanation is entirely true but may seem a bit vague. My maiden name was not my biological father’s name. I explained it briefly back in this blog post. Another reason why I want my husband’s last name is so that I have the same last name as my children.
I grew up in a situation where everyone in my immediate family had a different last name. Cerda, Nava, Gonzalez, Madrigal…all different! I clearly remember when I was in second grade my mom needed to come to our school for annual parent teacher conferences. So, first we went to Jessica’s kindergarten class, and my mom was addressed as “Mrs. Madrigal.” Weird… Then my class “Mrs. Gonzalez.” What? Then Marina’s class, “Mrs. Nava.” Don’t they know…?
When we walked away from the last classroom I asked my mom, “Mama why did they call you Mrs and our last names? Don’t the teachers know your last name?”
It was the first time in my life that I began to realize our family did not fit a “normal” family structure. When we moved to Camarillo and I saw classmates with siblings, all with the same names and same parents the idea that we weren’t like other families really materialized.
It’s important to me to be “whole” and “at one” with my future family. When I have kids and go to their conferences I want to be addressed by OUR last name. I never want my kids to feel confused. I want that warm happy feeling of knowing we are all part of the same “clan.” We’re the Abrahamsen family. This is our name, and we have a mixed and colorful background.
Another thing, is now I have an white sounding last name so people can’t guess by my name and appearance what my ethnic background is. That’s kind of fun. My first name, Monique, isn’t one most Latinos choose and my last name is Norwegian. Now people can’t jump to a conclusion, I can keep them wondering. Because guess what, my ethnicity isn’t all that important when it comes to doing business.
What are your thoughts on changing names because of marriage? Would you do it? Do you love your name and wouldn’t want to let it go?