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What’s in a Name? Keeping the Last One for My Daughter

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my name.

Am I going to change it back to Seals? When will I drop the Allers? 


No time soon, is the short answer.


But the long answer, has nothing to do with my books or my branding, but started nearly 10 years ago, in a maternity ward.


As you may know, when my daughter was born her father was nowhere to be found. (get caught up on the melodrama here).

However, knowing what I did know of her father, I never thought that would always be the case. I always felt deep in my heart that whatever denial, trauma and self-pitying nonsense he was going through would be relatively temporary and that he would never really be that guy to never, ever come around. So I officially gave Kayla two last names. Mine and her father’s.  Kayla is a Seals Allers on her social security card and birth certificate. I figured, if he came around, great! But if he didn’t, I could conveniently drop the Allers and stick with the Seals.


Well, as you know, he did eventually come around one year later, and Kayla has no memory of him not being there.  She has simply been, Kayla Allers, ever since.  She knew nothing of her double-last name status.


And for the many years she attended private school there was never any issue. But when I had to enroll her in public school, they insisted on using her name exactly as it appears on her birth certificate and social security card. Uh-oh!


First of all, Kayla would not take kindly from going from an “A” last name to being bumped to a “S”—you know how much school stuff goes down in alphabetical order. But more importantly I was stressed out because I never told her that she had two last names let alone why.  And my son is an Allers only.

 After registration, I spoke directly with her teacher and let her know that Kayla only knew her last name to be Allers only and she agreed to call her only that.

 But I still had some explaining to do.

 My daughter is a sensitive soul and I was very worried about explaining to her why she had been given two last names and her brother had not.  

 In the end, even though I was stressed out to have the conversation, she took great pride in having my name.  She brags to her little brother that she is a Seals Allers and he is not.

 And though the divorce has been most difficult on my daughter, our Seals Allers status has become a bond, a thing we share that separates us from the world. 

 Sometimes, I chuckle at how much time and consideration we give to what we name our children (did you write it out, try different spellings, and look at it in script like I did?).

 But in the end, it has been my last name that has made a world of difference with my daughter.  So, I’ll be keeping it for a while.


 In motherhood,

Kimberly Seals Allers


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