Growing up in a Christian home, it was never even a question of whether or not I would take my future husband’s last name. When you believe that marriage is a union under God and that two people are becoming one, sharing a last name is just part of the package. Of course I would take my husband’s name.
As I’ve gotten older, the thought of keeping my last name (or hyphenating) has crossed my mind once or twice, mostly in terms of my career path. As a female writer, it complicates things a lot when you have one body of work pre-name-change and another body of work post-name-change. But being single, I haven’t been in a position where I’ve had to think about it too much; there isn’t much for me to do except write with the name I have and cross the name changing bridge when I come to it.
I was listening to Ladies who Lunch, a podcast by Ingrid Nilsen and Cat Valdes, and they came to the topic of marriage and changing their name. Ingrid, whose father passed away, was very clear that she wanted to keep her name because it was her dad’s last name. As an only child, she is the last in the line of her dad’s last name, and if she has children she wants her dad’s last name to be passed on to her kids.
It suddenly hit me that I am in a very similar position. My brother and I are the last Emmons’. If my brother doesn’t have kids, and if I take someone else’s last name, there will be no more Emmons’.
The significance of my last name didn’t even occur to me until I heard Ingrid speak of her own. I’m proud to be the granddaughter of Robert Emmons, and the daughter of Timothy Emmons. I want my work to be published with my name, that is also their name.
We’re headed into Father’s Day, which will be the 5th one I’ve been through without my dad. I had a father for 19 years. The fact that I don’t have one now doesn’t change the fact that I am still my father’s daughter. It doesn’t change the fact that, whether or not I change my name down the line, I will always be an Emmons.