After our wedding, John and I took a spur of the moment trip to Atlantic City for two nights (where I won $300 from a penny slot machine after hitting a deer on the highway on the way to our hotel...it was a pretty eventful trip). Our first morning there, I opened Facebook on my phone and promptly changed my last name from plain old Legnetti to Legnetti-Olsen.
366 days later Facebook is the only place that name exists.
It only exists in that place for a few reasons, I guess. First of all I am wholly intimidated by the process of changing one's name. The Social Security Office seems to be involved and so does the DMV. I have to get a new Passport and a new Drivers License and a new Social Security Card. And our bank accounts need to be changed and the proper supporting documents provided? That's a lot of paperwork.
The other and more pressing reason, I think is that I have no idea what I want my last name to be.
Before we got married, John made it completely clear that he didn't care what my last name was. He asked if I wanted him to take my last name and hyphenate it with his, so we could both be Legnetti-Olsens. I thought about it and for some reason that seemed a little too progressive for me (more power to you if that's what you decide to do, but it just didn't feel right to me).
Then I started thinking about the hyphenating my name and then I kind of decided that when we had kids, I wanted them to be Legnetti-Olsen, too. But then we would all have the same last name and John would just be plain old Olsen.
But if I kept my last name and the kids were Olsens, then they would all have the same last name and I would be the stand alone Legnetti in our house.
I really like my last name. I like that its so uncommon, I like my signature, I like how it sounds...I just like it. And so I think for now, I am keeping it.
I thought about changing my last name back to just Legnetti a few months ago, but then I thought that everyone would think we were getting divorced and it just seemed too dramatic. So I left it. And I think I'm going I going to leave it, because I think I like how it looks and maybe I just need some more time to get used to it and/or psych myself up enough to start the process.
Maybe when we have kids I'll feel differently about what our names will be. Maybe I'll want us all to be Legnetti-Olsens. But maybe I'll always want to be Legnetti and for John to be Olsen and for our kids to be Legnetti-Olsens. Maybe I'll wake up one day and want to assume some internet anonymity and will become Kate Olsen-untraceable via Google because Kate Olsen sounds a lot like MaryKate Olsen.
I know that sometimes women who don't change their last names get offended if they get mail that says "Mr. and Mrs._____" or if they go to a wedding and their place card has them with the same last name as their husband. I'm resoundingly not in that boat. Call me what you want...I will happily smile at the mail you sent me or be thrilled about the fact that I'm included in your special day.
Whatever I decide about my last name and whatever we decide about our hypothetical kids, I feel pretty wonderful about the fact that I even have the option to take some time to decide. I love that I married a man who didn't assume I would take his last name, that we talked about it before bed one night and that he was legitimately OK with whatever I decided. I like that the only person who blinked when I said John and I have different last names was a sassy bank teller last December. "Oh look at YOU!" she said.
Yeah lady...Look at ME. My name is Kate Legnetti and I have husband named John Olsen. We've been together for almost seven years and have been married for 366 days. We've got two cats and a house in Brooklyn. We've got crazy, loud families and friends who we love. He plays a lot of video games. I have more yarn in our living room than I should. We're a family regardless of what our last names are, and I love him more than anything.
Happy Anniversary, babe. I love you.