No one ever tells you about this bit… the total wipeout of the name you used to go by. All your life you have been called and answer to one name. Your family name. And within a few moments of saying the words ‘I DO’ you become someone totally different yet exactly the same.
Growing up if you attended a British state school there would have been a least a dozen people in your year that were called almost entirely but their surname. I was pretty much one of those people. Granted not by everyone but pretty much by the male population of the year. Another was my entire full name, first and last. This was not me being bullied FYI it’s just what I came accustomed to.
I left that school feeling like I had left the army.
Then somehow nearly ten years later here I am writing a blog post about the emphasis of your surname. A little ironic. However, that aside for the past 27 years and 1 month and 2 days I had been known as Eleanor Miller The First (it so happens). My family and I recently have been diving into family history and as early back as 1836 there have been none named the same as myself.
I have always been quite grateful for having quite a plain surname. It is not something people normally ask how to spell except if it is AR or ER at the end. It was always pretty self-explanatory. And I was totally ok with that ! It hindered those awkward conversations where on the third attempt of you reciting it you’ll happily just go with whatever to end the conversation at the end of the phone.
When Phil asked me to marry him last December I didn’t even give it a second thought of taking his last name- of course I would.
There is another male in my family to carry the family name and there was no reason for me to hold on to it.
When Evelyn was born I joked she would be taking my name but that’s as far as it went.
I was not so fortunately blessed with two middle names. Growing up and learning to spell ALL of your names was super hard for me when most people only had one middle name. So the thought of giving her two middle names or a double-barrelled last name was definitely a no from me.
She was registered Evelyn Naomi Ritson and it wouldn’t be too much longer before the 4 of us had the same surname.
Thomas, my step son, asked me on several occasions if I would please change my name. He said that he wanted to feel part of something and that kind of broke my heart and filled it with love at the same time, bless him. For him not to feel part of anything saddened me but for me to be able to do something about that made me feel like I could be the person he wanted me to be.
And with that we decided we would be a family of Ritson’s all with the same last name.
It is becoming so very common for women to keep their last name or double-barrelling it, and I totally support that, but for me and my family it was right to complete it so to speak.
It has been nearly two months since I became a Ritson and it is very hard adjusting. I keep booking table reservations under the wrong name and I’ve got to get the hang of signing work emails correctly. It just types so differently lol.
Another thing no one warns you is that your ‘oh so easy signature’ will probably have to change too. My old one used to flow so nicely and quickly off the pen and it can’t really be adapted or incorporated into my new name. So I have had to go with something totally new and totally different.
Signing and authorising things at work means I get plenty of practise but it still feels super weird.
Writing to all those companies too… I didn’t realise so many companies had my contact details.
I also didn’t realise you had to have property and land legally changed too. The deeds have to be sent away and re-written and everything reregistered. It is such a long-winded process for everything. I don’t think I’ve even tackled half the companies I need to and I have already written to so many.
All of that aside, would I do it any differently if I had to do it over????… not one bit.
Eleanor Ritson is here to stay!!!