A household name

“Are you planning on taking your husband’s name?” the celebrant asked, looking at us both.
We paused.
“Ah, we’re not sure,” I finally answered.
Although I was quite happy with the idea of becoming Mrs Learner Dad, Master Seven had had my surname since birth and he wasn’t so thrilled.
“Can’t he have our name?” he’d pleaded. “Why do we have to have his?”
He suggested what he’d heard many times during role call at school – a hyphenated name.
I read recently that, while the hyphen is actually being phased out, double barrelled surnames are more in vogue than ever.
But was it really necessary?
In any case, before I could make any decisions, he suddenly backflipped on the issue.
“Tomorrow I’m going to change my name to my dad’s,” he announced proudly over dinner.
“That’s lovely darling,” I replied, suddenly on the back foot. “But it’s not actually that simple. We have a few things to organise first. Why don’t we wait until the wedding?”
To tell the truth, I was procrastinating.
As excited as I was about officially becoming a family unit, letting go of what would become my maiden name was daunting.
I’d had it for 35 years.
It was the name that identified me as a child, then as a young woman.
I still shared it with the people I grew up with – my mum, dad and two brothers.
It was my by-line at the newspaper, and then my sign off on the TV news.
I was nostalgic about Master Seven’s name too.
It represented our past, when we were just a little family of two.
I’d helped him learn that name.
I’d helped him spell and write it.
I’d heard him proudly pronounce it to his grandparents over and over again.
It was his name at school for goodness sake!
But he was only seven.
Would he even remember having it?
And then, Master Seven and I aren’t the only considerations.
Li’l Fatty has his dad’s surname.
Would he wish he had his mother’s too?
And his brother’s?
Would either of my boys care if they grew up with different names?
They’ve never considered themselves half-brothers.
In fact, Learner Dad and I haven’t either.
But having different names would certainly highlight the fact that they are.
Pretty much every day.
Whether or not the four of us will emerge from the wedding with the same name is yet to be seen.
But one thing’s for sure.
We’re lucky Learner Dad’s got a good one (although I can see myself having to say “with an ‘e’ on the end” for the rest of my life!)


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