My last name is quite the conversation starter. Everyone has an opinion. Still. I've been divorced for more than a year, and I'm still asked constantly if I'm maintaining Romo as my surname.
On this blog sometime in early 2013, I mentioned in passing that I'd be keeping Romo, but I didn't delve much into it. I didn't think it was a thing. Apparently it is. Most people can't understand why I'd want to keep "Mark's last name" and my retort, "but it's not 'his'; it's mine now" hasn't been good enough.
The one person who understood immediately and without a word of explanation from me was Jim's 19-year-old son Dustin, who, it should be said, isn't one of Mark's fans, seeing as my ex-husband had an affair with his mother that ended up fracturing Dustin's family. In conversation one night when my last name came up yet again, and the question was the usual one, "Why in the world wouldn't you go back to your maiden name?" I didn't have to answer. Dustin jumped in and did it for me, and the gist of his dead-on answer was this:
I've built a career with that name. It's under this name that I've spent all my adult life. I have email addresses and a URL and a graduate diploma with this name. I am this person: Megan Romo.
Sure, I can have all that changed, but my name is mine, and it doesn't offend me. And, as Dustin said, most people who can't understand why I am so attached to my name as it is don't have careers and searchable accomplishments where they are known by a specific name. If you're not sure what I mean, google "Megan Romo."
Then there's this: words and letters arranged into sounds and cadences matter to me. I like the flow of "Megan Romo." I never liked my maiden name, Peterson. None of the girls in my family do. Name-wise, we all believe we married into upgrades (or in Mally's case a lateral shift). Even my mom sees Peterson for the bummer that it is. She liked her maiden name Samson better and is happy it lives on in my sister, Cat's, son, Samson.
All this doesn't mean that we don't appreciate the Peterson name. We love and honor the people on that side of the family. Just because I think Peterson sucks doesn't mean I don't appreciate and love my dad, the man from whom that name came. It's not the name that made the man. And along that same thread, my keeping Romo isn't some tribute to the loser off whom I got it. This name is mine. I adopted it. I'm keeping it.
And that is something special that Carrie and I get to share now. When she married my ex, Mark Romo, she changed her name from that of her children—Elliker—to Romo. So now we have even more in common! For a few months, we shared a man (only one of us was in the know about that though, and it sure wasn't me), and now we share a last and middle name.
I'm Megan Lynn Romo.
She's Carrie Lynn Romo.
It's like we're sister wives!
I'm the bright wife with a job, a graduate degree (though admittedly in liberal arts and therefore pretty worthless), a vocabulary with polysyllabic words, wit, a birthday in the 80s, decency, a right to self-respect, and an honorable man as mine. And she's the dim wife with the downgraded significant other, fake boobs, a penchant for country music, half her children half the time, no hobbies and thus nothing to do during the day, a bad back, no ass, and a truly laughable, trying-too-hard-and-failing-miserably, stylish-perhaps-eight-years-ago, and-firmly-rooted-in-Reno taste in clothes.