“And all I remember is your back walking towards the airport, leaving us all in your past. I travelled fifteen hundred miles to see you, begged you to want me, but you didn’t want to. But piece by piece he collected me up off the ground, where you abandoned things and piece by piece he filled the holes that you burned in me at six years old and, you, know, he never walks away, he never asks for money, he takes care of me, he loves me. Piece by piece he restored my faith that a man could be kind and a father could stay….” –Kelly Clarkson, Piece by Piece
I’ve hinted at it a few times now (some more obviously than others), but I recently had my name legally changed to my dad (and, subsequently, my family)’s last name.
…and, I changed my first name.
This has been met with a lot of questions, naturally. What better place to explain than TO&E?
First, some context. About 22 years ago, my mom was seeing her high school boyfriend again. Suddenly, she was having a baby (but actually, it was a complete surprise when she suddenly had a seizure and went into labour [I was a complicated baby]. It’s more complicated than you’d think
!). Now, while she was in the ICU (I told you, complicated), the father named the baby—giving her his last name and a family first name.
That would be me.
Now, Mom never blatantly hated the name (to my knowledge), but I did. After this “father” disappeared, we launched into a years-long custody battle with his parents: obviously, Mom was “keeping me away from them;” it had nothing to do with the fact that I hated them as much as I did him.
Fast forward just a bit, and I’m in kindergarten. Now, my mom is dating a man named Chris. I like Chris. Eventually, the two of them get married. But adoption is expensive and we have more important things to pay for—like my new baby sister. So, I remain a Sebock unofficially.
My grandfather—Dad’s dad—desperately wants to formally change my name: adoption, the whole nine yards. But being a minor complicates things, and issues like signing away parental rights on the biological side come into play. Before we can try it out, Pop passes away.
Simultaneously, we have the first day of school each year. Teachers, not knowing any better, call “Julia,” or worse, my full name. I can’t say “it’s Jules quickly enough.” Every time, I hear it in the “grandmother”‘s voice. Every time, I feel a little more sick.
Finally, I get fed up. Finally, I do the research. Finally, I get it done.
So now I’m Juliette—still Jules, but no more first day of school sickness. Now I’m a *real* member of the family, though I’d hardly been treated as anything less. Now we feel like a legitimate family.
Shout out to my former roommate for helping me make a “birth certificate” to surprise my Dad. I’m told I topped all birthday presents for eternity!