Sunday, 23 January 2011

Introducing The Steen Family

The post brought a big envelope the other day containing our Deed of Name Change. I could say 'it's been a long time coming' but it hasn't. A year is not an extraordinary amount of time to find yourself with a different name, a different means of identifying yourself, a different identity? But it is time. And I'm ready, though It will take time to adjust to our new name. To grow into it.

Keeping my married name was no longer an option to me. Losing 'Magee' was never intended to be a purging of the kid's biological fathers presence (who lives on a different continent and is not involved in their lives in any way**). I am not interested in changing our names as a means of revenge. But I no longer feel comfortable with having the ownership of 'him' implied in my surname and consequently It would seem a little strange for the kid's to have a different surname to me when I am their sole parent.

In molly's first year of life, so delighted was I that Molly had made us a family, I would proudly make statements like 'Family Magee joined the library today' and 'It's Family Magee's first Christmas'. But as soon as I set foot on that plane I felt I could no longer make those statements. I'd take a breath to say it and then I'd stop myself, because 'Family Magee' was broken, incomplete.

We were three and then we were two. But along came Captain Finch and restored us to our former tri-glory. And we needed a new title to give our new family.

Somewhat controversially, I've decided not to return to my maiden name. That decision was almost instinctual right from the moment it looked like 'things' might be going wrong. Returning to being a 'Reid' felt like a step back. It's not that I had an unhappy childhood or teenage years, but I never felt comfortable in my own skin back then - and that's what 'Alli Reid' conjured up to me - low self esteem, insecure and afraid. That Alli is gone and I refuse to step back into her shoes, despite how tempting it's been at times.

So why Steen? Steen is my middle name, but to me it has never been just a word to bridge the gap between forename and surname. Many of my close friends refer to me as 'Steen' or 'Steeners', it is the title I have chosen to give all my creative endeavors since I was old enough to make birthday cards with glitter glue. It was my great grandmothers surname and my grandmothers maiden name. I never met my grandmother, she died before I was born and my great-grandmother died when I was an infant. But I have grown up knowing my great aunties, still referred to as 'The Steen Girls'. They are a force of nature; strong, determined and big hearted women. Having been given Steen as my middle name always felt quite a compliment and indeed a standard to live up to. Unfortunately the name died out when each of The Steen Girls married and took on their husband's name. So I guess us becoming Steen's is a way of resurrecting the name and hopefully carrying it on. I always thought if I had children, I'd give one of them Steen as a middle name. I never expected it would become our family name. But here we are. Steen's and proud.

Meet the Family

Allison Steen, Finch Timshel Steen and Molly Joan Steen (my name sounds so short now! especially since I usually go by Alli Steen. But I'll get used to it.)

So here I go using it for the first time: Family Steen got our first family picture today. What did you do?

** but it's easier that way and I am can honestly say now that I'm grateful for the space and feel the kids do not lack in any love


Anonymous said...

You r one the the most encouraging, strong, unique woman I have ever came across...
Such an inspiration to so many!

Anonymous said...

Aww ALLI! I have grown up in awe and reverence of the Steen women, always hearing stories about the strength and determination the women all seemed to have...heard stories from my dad, and grandmum and aunties and yes even you:) I am entirely proud of you and think that you made a beautiful decision for yourself and your family:) Please, allow your wee cousin Elyse to be the first to say, I am jealous of the strength, history and future your new name holds.

All the best, and miss you terribly,


onelittlemustardseed said...

What a beautiful history behind your name! You are continuing the tradition & blazing your own trail! I admire your strength & wisdom to define for yourself who you are! God Bless you & your beautiful wee ones! Your children will be so proud of you someday when they realize what a strong mamma they have!

Claire said...

I may not know you, but I am so inspired by your courage. You have a beautiful family- a perfect trifecta.

blither blather said...

how liberating to christen your new family! congrats!!! you're getting there!

Amy in the UAE said...

I'm so proud of you. I first began reading your blog when you were pregnant with Mr. Finch and look at how far you've come--homeowner, mother of two, and now with your very own family name.

I split with my ex when I was pregnant with my second, and my budding family of two and a half (soon to be three) moved halfway across the world during the split, too.

Just remember you are not alone. I am with you. ALL of us single moms are.


esther said...

what a lovely picture it is too! congrats on this next forward step x

Drew's Mom said...

Congrats on the new family name! I think it is a great idea! Love the pictures, your babies are adorable!!

Anonymous said...

Love this! And I agree with the person who wrote that you are one of the most encouraging, strong and unique women. You truly are.

PS. I LOVE Molly's outfit! :)


Dana said...

Nice to meet you, Family Steen. You are beautiful, every one of you.

ingrid said...

This is very happy-making!

It's funny that you chose your middle name because we go by my husband's middle name. My maiden name is Deon, his last name is Deveau, but the three of us go by Luke. Fun!

healthysoulproject said...

I am so glad you posted this. Just yesterday I was thinking about how I've always secretly wished I could change my last name to my mother's maiden name. Reading this made me feel like it could be a real change I make. Thanks. I love reading your blog.

Thomaswmfo said...

Congrats on the new family name! I think it is a great idea! Love the pictures, your babies are adorable!!