I need advice. I’m getting married today, and I’m not stressed at all about the food or the flowers or the cake or anything like that. We have a whopping guest list of 10 people, almost all of whom are very closely related to us (four parents, two kids), so I figure they’ll forgive any little imperfections or mishaps. Besides, I’m not walking down the aisle or throwing a bouquet, and since I’m pregnant, I won’t be drinking, so with those three factors combined, the potential for me to make an ass out of myself is vastly diminished. What I’m stressing out about right now, though, is my name.
This is the exact opposite of my wedding experience in 2003. When I got married for the first time, I was an absolute wreck about the details. Would the personalized matchbooks come in time? Did I have the meal selections of every one of the 300 guests properly recorded in my Excel spreadsheet? Should I have gone with fondant instead of buttercream for the cake even though no one really likes the taste of fondant? The only thing I wasn’t stressing about was my name: I was adamant that I was going to keep my maiden name.
And I did. I got married in July 2003, and I was Eve Kidd until April 2006 – when I got pregnant with my daughter and decided to change my name to match hers.
So now that I’m about to get married for a second time, I don’t really feel the urge to change my name to my future husband’s; I feel much more of a pull to keep it the same as my daughter’s. It’s not quite that simple, though, because in choosing to keep the same last name as Ruby, I will also be choosing to not have the same last name as my future daughter.
I have considered hyphenating, but I’ve ruled it out. First of all, I think hyphenating offers all of the inconvenience of having to legally change your name without balancing it with the convenience of one family having the same last name. If I had changed my name initially to Kidd-Crawford, for instance, I would have had to go to the DMV and the Social Security office and change my credit records but I would still have a different last name from the rest of the family who was just Crawford. Also, and perhaps for me, even more important, is the simple fact that the hyphen is my most-hated punctuation mark, and I don’t want it cluttering up any part of my name. (I mean no disrespect to anyone who has hyphenated – this is purely about my personal feelings toward the punctuation mark itself. Now dashes are another story – I love dashes almost as much as I love semicolons – obviously! – but that’s not really relevant to the issue of my legal name.) A final issue is that Crawford is really my ex-husband’s last name, and hyphenating it with my new husband’s last name sort of yokes them together in a way that I’m not sure either of them would be entirely comfortable with.
See why I’m stressed?
Then, of course, there are professional considerations. I wrote under the byline Eve Kidd during college and just after, but for the bulk of my professional career, I have used all three names. I haven’t amassed a vast amount of name recognition or anything, but I hardly want to throw away what little I do have.
Finally, I really, really, really don’t want to go to the DMV. The last time I was at the DMV, I waited for about four hours while they called numbers in a maddeningly inexplicable fashion (3507 … 4216 … 2309 …) and, in the meantime, got screamed at by a stranger with a fake arm about why DUI laws were bullshit. I don’t mind bureaucracy in general, but bureaucracy in New Orleans is a whole different story.
I guess the upshot of all of this is that I’ve made my decision, more or less, to keep my name the same as Ruby’s. It seems easier to just not share a name with the new baby from the start than it does to have to explain to Ruby why I have changed my last name to be different than hers and why she is now the only Crawford in a house full of Peytons.
But if anyone has any insight into some fabulous option that I’m overlooking, please let me know.
And at least we won’t have a DJ announcing after the ceremony that we are appearing for the first time as “Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So.” As far as I’m concerned, that’s just one fewer thing to have to worry about.
Wish me luck, y’all.