Oh! You thought I knew the answer??!! Seriously, what were you thinking? This is a big question, and it did sort of get thrown at me.
Some of you have been following the evolution of my profile to the left of this post. It's a work in progress, to be sure, but it's getting there. And I've made one more decision. I'm changing my name back to my birth name. This is going to be a confusing transition for all of us. I've had my married name for longer than I had my birth name, but we'll figure it out. We're nice smart people.**
Here's my thinking. I have only a little anger toward Dave and none toward his family. But they are not my heart's home, as fine as they are. My siblings, on the other hand, well, we're gifted with each other for life. If someone needs a kidney... If someone's ex-partner needs a serious ass-kicking.... Pretty much no matter what, siblings stand up. Mine certainly did. So, I'm saying in a fairly maudlin way, actually, "these are my people" and leaving a family that didn't stand with me -never even knew me, really. (Of course, not all my siblings have the same last name. The argument gets a little wispy, but work with me here! We're talking symbolism.)
There's also the claiming the new me. I'm not that former person who let someone else define her. I'm this new chick who wants to be brave and idealistic and ...all those other things. So maybe taking a new name will symbolize that.
The kids are okay with this plan, but only okay. They're not crazy about it. I'm trying to figure out a way to help them understand that there is no name change that will affect the ferocity of my love for them. A kidney wouldn't begin to cover it ;) And since that's so unshakable, maybe they need to relax and work on their sibling-ness. They're very close, as it turns out, but all relationships need nurturing. (Are you paying attention, Dave? Lesson #1) I'm here. My name only matters to me. Run off, now, and be sibs to each other. As persuasion goes, it lacks a certain elegance, but that's the gist of the idea.
**It's Buford, by the way. Welcome to the world, grown up girl!