So, I never change my name when I get married. I quite like the sound of it, and I've been Christina Kelly for too long to start calling myself something else. This despite the fact that people persist in naming their children Christina Kelly, some of whom grow up to torture me.
It can be inconvenient, now that I have two kids in school. There's a sentence of explaining involved in phone calls on their behalf: "This is Christina Kelly, and I am the mother of Dale and Violet Ross." I blame the extra use of breath on my husband Dalton, who didn't expect that I take his name, and is a very enlightened man in most matters (except for he pretends he doesn't know how to do laundry). But Dalton got all patriarchal when I wanted to give my son the hyphenated last name "Kelly-Ross." What two names join together more felicitously, I ask you?
I had to compromise, so we named our son Dale Kelly Ross, without the hyphen. I tried to pretend that Kelly was part of the last name for years, writing the full name on every form and thank you note, until the impending birth of our daughter. I also wanted to give Violet the middle name Kelly. That's when Dalton wised up to the fact that in my "compromise" I was merely pretending to let the children have only his last name. So then I had to give her a different middle name. Drat.
Sometimes I get called "Mrs. Ross," which makes me feel like I'm playing house. I never correct people, and it doesn't bother me; it's just not my name.
Recently, Violet's piano teacher pulled me outside and asked dramatically: "Is her last name Ross or Kelly?" I explained that her name was Ross, like her brother and father, and mine was Kelly. He looked at me like I was insane. "Why?" he demanded. I explained that I did not change my name when I got married. "Why not?" he persisted. I resisted the urge to say, are you kidding me? and mumbled something about being a writer. This seemed to satisfy him; you know those writers, always trying to be different.
I thought my decision was commonplace, but apparently, 77 to 95 percent of married women do change their names.