The wedding’s happened (back in 2014), the Dublin reception has happened, and now we’ve weathered the American celebration and it’s time to address … my name. (Don’t worry, I do know who I am. It’s everyone else who doesn’t, it seems.)
People don’t know what to call me. Everyone is sooo confused. What should they put on the Christmas cards? The wedding invitations? The Swan Ball auction party invitation?* People actually call and ask me this.
So here’s the thing.
The last time I changed my name I was nineteen years old and a newlywed. I had a driver’s license, a Social Security card, and no debt, and it was a pain in the neck, all that paperwork. Eighteen years and one child later, I was divorced, but I did not change my name because I remembered my school years and how awkward it was to find a friend in the phone book when that kid’s mom had a different last name, either through remarriage or assuming her maiden name. Adults didn’t think of these things back then but it was a big deal for kids. So I kept Chavez because that is my son’s surname, and it’s a fine one.
By the time I remarried in 2014, I’d been Chavez for more than forty years. Gerry’s family, of course, immediately began calling me Mrs. Hampson or Mrs. H, and I take a great deal of delight in responding to those terms of endearment. But I haven’t changed my name (yet, if).
I’d discussed it with Gerry, of course, long before those moments on the courthouse steps. But I have a two-decade professional reputation in the publishing industry as Chavez. After Gerry and I talked about it, I realized he wasn’t concerned about my name at all. To change it legally will require time and paperwork—and time in particular is the one thing I just haven’t had in the last eighteen months, what with planning two overseas trips (2015) and two big parties (one in Ireland, one in Tennessee), and a zillion other things to handle—most importantly, work—have taken priority.
So I will continue to be Chavez professionally. I already answer to Hampson when it arises (and it does); Gerry’s just fine with the status quo. It will happen, or it won’t happen, but right now isn’t high on my priority list. (The jars in the garage will probably get taken care of sooner.) And you can address those Christmas cards however it suits you!
* Those of you who know me know I don’t run in these circles and would be really uncomfortable if I had to run in them, but it does happen that I donated my services and with that comes a hand-calligraphied invitation to a dress-up party. (But I had a pressing deadline.)