Newly [Née]med Part 2: Taking My Daughter’s Name, Taking My Mother’s Name

Oh yes, it’s a day of announcements! (See Part 1 if you aren’t sure why you aren’t on inter ruralia)

I was born Sarah Winchester Boddy, and now my name is Sarah Jackson Boddy Norris.

I’ve had a wonderful time being known as Sarah Winchester Boddy. Sure, there was a lot of “boody” and “body” to contend with, but I contended just fine. “Winchester,” which calls back to an ancestor who fought for the North in the Civil War and also tied me to Sarah Winchester, has been so meaningful to me. So, I’ve given it to our little swan: Sirenna Winchester Audre Norris.

Jackson is my mother’s last name, and Norris is my daughter’s; if I’m going to engage in patriarchy in this most visible of ways, I’m going to do it in the most matriarchal spirit I can think of. I know it’s normal to view a last name as tying you to a family–a team, as my friend Cherisse says– but for most of my life I identified my name more with ME and less with my family. My dad was the only Boddy I actually hung out with all that often, the rest being either far-flung or changed after marriage or both. But now that there’s a Renn, I feel so very team-y, and so I’ve made my name reflect the genetic teams that matter to me: my mom’s, my dad’s, and me+Bill+Renn. We are The Norrises, and I have declared it to be pronounced with a long e {think “premises”), for I like to change things even as they change me.


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