Our wedding ceremony was by all accounts beautiful. We chose music that spoke to us, readings that touched us, exchanged heartfelt vows and, with the help of our officiant, created a very personal feel. At the closing, however, there was no “I now present for the first time as husband and wife: Mr. and Mrs. Michael Stock.”
That piece of the puzzle was deliberately missing by our own device. It was left out because I chose not to become a Stock but to remain a Kaminski. This decision, out of all my supposedly radical wedding decisions, was the one that was met with the most resistance.
Stock is simpler than Kaminski. What if you have children? Don’t you want to share a name? It’s just easier to have a single family name. Wouldn’t it be nice to to be “the Stocks?” Did you think about hyphenating? Don’t you want to be married? I heard it all, but I stood my ground. Don’t tell me what to do.
And then I argued with myself. You have your father’s name don’t you? Every woman in your family took their husbands’ names. Names are just arbitrary assignations. What about your hypothetical future children? Lots of feminists take their husbands’ names. And I had to quash those arguments too – they were all just reiterations of the same garbage.
I kept Kaminski because that’s the name I want.
I want my name because I don’t feel it’s necessary to take on a new identity – even if it’s just symbolic, even if it supposedly unifies us – after marriage. I want my name because Michael was never asked if he was going to change his. I want my name because I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of updating everything from my passport to my auto insurance to my punch card at the pet store. I want my name because although I’m married to Michael, I am still part of my messy Michalek-Kowalewski-Kaminski family.
Despite being confident in my choice, writing this post is still emotional in some ways. Is Michael disappointed? Is his family offended? Am I not a good wife? And I have to fight those feelings because not taking Michael’s last name doesn’t mean I don’t love him or our familes. Not taking his name only means that I’m not buying into some outdated, patriarchal, hierarchical baloney.
And it took me years to master the cursive K. I don’t want that going to waste.