So we have finally been to civil court to start our name change process. We have been talking and stressing and pondering names since we got serious in 2002.
We both have three-syllable, identifiably ethnic last names. My mom says that together (like on our doorbell) they sound like a law firm. Hyphenation was just never an option.
We know people who have hyphenated (in a variety of ways). We know people who have combined letters in both last names to create a new name. We know people who have chosen new names entirely. We know people who have chosen to keep one partner's last name.
For a while we were planning to combine pieces of our two last names, thinking we would keep our last names, and we'd be identifiably Flipper's parents because his name would have elements of both of ours. But then Co got cold feet. And ultimately I agree with her that it was not the best idea; we wouldn't all have the same name, and the combo name was kind of goofy sounding. It is not a great sign when you share your kid's theoretical last name and people's first response is to giggle.
Finally -- very recently -- out of the blue I came up with a name that combined the beginning syllables of my last name, and the ending syllables of Co's grandmother's maiden name (Co identifies deeply with the ethnicity of this grandmother, who raised her). I will change my last name to this new name and keep my middle name. Co, who has no middle name, will keep her last name as a middle name and add on our new last name.
And so the three of us (!) *will* have the same name. The Family O.