I Have a New Name!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

I'd been waiting for this day for a looooong time - just under 33.5 years, to be precise.

Longtime readers & real-life friends will likely know: My legal first name for the past 33.5 years has been Sara. I've never gone by it - my parents always called me Katie or Katy or Kate - but there it was, all my life, taunting me at doctor's offices & in DMVs & the bank & every other formal legal situation wherein I was reminded that the name I've always gone by was not, in fact, my name.

Shortly after Mike & I got married, I started the process of changing my full name.

I always knew that, if I got married after my grandmother was gone (I'm named Sara in memory of her mother), I would legally drop my first name. Changing your full name, even after marriage, is a much longer & more expensive process than simply changing your last name, but I knew I wanted to do it. I've always wanted to do it. I submitted the online paperwork, including sending photos of my birth certificate, driver's license, & marriage license... & then I waited to be assigned a court date.

That date was yesterday.

I took off work & brought my mom with me to my appointment with a magistrate at the Cuyahoga County Probate Court. Thirty minutes, $65, & one swearing-in later, he approved my request to change my legal first name from Sara to Kate, to make my maiden name my middle name, & to take my married name as my last name.

So what does this mean? That means it's officially official: My name is my name! 

The magistrate was very helpful, explaining all the steps, & he was also very tolerant of my high levels of enthusiasm. I guess, in that job, you probably don't hear from a ton of people who are, like, thrilled to be in court. But when he said, "I'm approving your request," right in the middle of an ongoing sentence like it was no big deal, I interrupted him by blurting out, "Thank you!" with a huge smile on my face. I couldn't help it.

Then we were off, new name in tow (though I have to wait a few days to start legally changing everything, starting with my Social Security card, followed by my driver's license, followed by my birth certificate, followed by evvvvverything else). Afterward, my mom & I celebrated with pancakes at Jack Flaps Luncheonette downtown, an indulgent weekday brunch topped with lemon curds & blueberries (or, in her case, crème brûlée & lavender).

For the first time in my life, I can't wait to go to a doctor's office - because mostly, I just really, really can't wait to finally be called by a name that registers in my brain as being my name.

Happy New Name Day to me! 

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