Monday, October 15, 2012

the maiden name

my mom hyphenated her last name but ross, daniel, and i - we are all lewis'. i remember traveling with my family and overhearing my mom saying "4 lewis', 1 gallegos-lewis" whenever we checked in for flights. at some point i asked her why she had two last names. and she looked at me and in all seriousness said "anna maria, do i look like a lewis?" and the answer is quite simply: no, she does not.

"gallegos" ties her back to her roots and her childhood in her beloved home state of new mexico. and when the time came to marry a man born and raised in the chesapeake bay, i think she knew deep down she would never again live in new mexico. she would never be surrounded by the mountains she loves, or live somewhere that wearing a cowboy hat and cowboy boots and going to "la mesa" is a daily occurrence. her way of holding on to her culture, her childhood, her heritage, was hyphenating her last name. i've always admired this small act of independence in my mom and to be honest, i think my dad does too.

for many years i knew that i wouldn't marry someone who demanded that i change my name. something about being told to do something doesn't really scream "respect," "love," "honor," or "cherish" to me. especially because i know in full confidence that the testament of my love and commitment to my husband will not lay in whether or not i took his last name. would it matter if my husband had a preference? absolutely. because the testament of my love will be understanding, compromise, and respect.

if patricio has a strong opinion on what he wants me to do, he hasn't shared it. he says that it's my choice, and right now, i really don't know what i will do. hyphenate? drop maria? merge anna maria into one name? (as it should have been from the start) considering the fact that i am pretty attached to the three names i already have, there are many options to choose from.

what i do know is that our little chickadees will have their father's last name. nothing will make me more proud, or more happy than to be a momma to heckel children. and i trust that should i hold onto "lewis" my children will be smart enough to figure out why.

**changing one's name (or deciding against it) is an extremely personal decision to make, at one of the most special times of your life. so let it be known, i do not care about anyone's opinion on this matter (besides patrick's.). it will neither sway nor make me feel more confident in my own. and because it is so personal, i do not in any way, shape, or form have an opinion on what anyone else decides to do.