Hello. My name is Megan Coakley. Megan Aileen Coakley, to be exact. This is the name my parents gave me when I was born, and it is the name I use to this day. It is on all my legal documents. It is who I am.
The Captain has a different last name. When we married, I did not change my name to his, because I am Megan Coakley. However, society does not make it easy for one to maintain their "maiden" name. When my children were born, I had to register under both my name and the Captain's, so the hospital would allow me to bring home the human beings I had grown in my uterus. Frankly, I fed and housed them for nine months, so if possession is nine-tenths of the law shouldn't the Captain have had to change his name to claim them?
When the children started school I began using the Captain's name on school forms and to make it easier for their friends. If Three's last name is Captainsboy, it's hard to ask a child to remember to call me Ms. Coakley. So, pretty much everyone in town knows me as Mrs. Captain. I don't mind. I feel like an actress playing a role. And, when my book is published, it will put some distance between the boys and my smut. All good.
I draw the line when it comes to legal documents. I am not now, nor have I ever been, Mrs. Captain. Our bank checks list both our names and if the Captain and I own something jointly, other than the children, I like my half to belong to Megan A. Coakley. That is why, when we refinanced our home a few years ago, I lost my shit when they put Megan A. Mrs. Captain on all the documents. When I pointed out that Mrs. Captain wasn't technically my name they made me sign every freaking piece of paper with both names. If you have ever purchased a mortgage you know how many times one has to initial and sign by the damn X's. And I don't even have a good "Mrs. Captain" signature. It doesn't flow easily from my hand like "Megan A. Coakley." I was pissed beyond reason when I left that office.
The Captain was sympathetic to a degree, then he told me I should let it go because in the end it was about saving our money, right? When I narrowed my eyes to incinerate him with my gaze he blamed his cousin, who sold us the mortgage and prepped all the paperwork. Fine. After all, the cousin had probably never heard of a woman who kept her name, it being a fairly new concept in the fucking 21st century.
It is now time to refinance again. The rates are low, our credit score is outstanding, and we bleed money on a regular basis (damn you kids, and your need for food, clothing, and healthcare!). Once again, the cousin is preparing the paperwork so when the Captain texted me to tell me he had electronically signed the first wave of papers, I had only one question:
"Is my name correct???"
"Are you kidding?" (I thought he might be pulling my leg, because surely he couldn't forget how angry I was three years ago.)
"Nope. All I did was click, click, click and didn't even look until you just said something."
To which my delicate response was:
Forty-nine minutes later he wrote to tell me the cousin had corrected all the documents. It probably took forty-five of those minutes to explain that yes, even after twenty-two years of marriage and five children I have yet to completely abandon my identity.
I'm Megan Coakley, dammit. Remember my name.