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What's In A Name?

I'm sure you can relate: when I was a kid, I didn't really like my name, especially my last name. First of all, NOBODY had Rill for a name, so automatically it was weird. Second of all, it has "ill" in it. Enough said. Back in those olden days, we would sing patriotic songs in the morning at school. I hated "My Country, 'Tis of Thee." First of all, it is a stupid name for a song. Second of all, at the line, "I love thy rocks and rills," kids would snicker and say, "except Julie." Ha ha ha.

Fast forward to me at age 23 and I was so happy to be done with the Rill. My married name had a minor problem of being a) too common in our largely Scandinavian populated area and b) there were two commonly possible endings, with ours being the least common. But saying "e" repeatedly was a small price to pay.

I struggled with whether I should change my name back after the divorce. The story from my attorney and others was that if I didn't let the judge automatically do it when he signed the decree, it would cost me more in legal fees, time and aggravation if I changed my mind later. I wasn't eager to have a different last name than my children, but I thought I'd better just do it.

It would be hard to believe that I avoided much, if any, aggravation. I think I have succeeded in finally become officially Rill again in 90% of my life. Surprisingly, social security was relatively easy, except that I cried at the window. There are actually tears in my eyes in my driver's license photo, but you can't tell and the ladies there were really nice.

Credit cards were shockingly simple: all I had to do was call Chase and tell them my new name and they sent me cards. No proof required. It took me much longer to change over all my hotel and airline rewards memberships. I actually had to send them copies of the divorce decree. Hyatt more careful than Chase? With all that, I think within two months most of the more serious items like IRAs were changed over.

There are still problems and glitches. Comcast, for some reason, just can't get it together. Now, my bill comes to Julie Rill, but my phone number is listed as Julie X... My bank account is Julie Rill, but my login cannot change from X... The first few months I struggled because my dad was truly an "ill Rill" and I was traveling to Phoenix a lot. I didn't have a lot of time to address the less important name changes like hotels and airlines, so I lost a lot of miles and points during that period. Things like that are just minor irritations, but for about the first six months, I sorely regretted changing over. It was like using an alias everywhere I went. Even now, I need to change my passport and one or two other minor things. And things like diplomas- what do you do? It is a lot of work to change your name after 26 years- don't let anyone fool you.

The sad fact was, up until a few months ago, I still hated when people asked me my last name. "Rill. R-I-L-L." Then they get that familiar, puzzled look: Rill? Finally, one day, as I was becoming more settled in to my new reality, I was thinking about goals for the next few years. I had a thought. Out of the blue, it just appeared.


What? Say that again? I couldn't believe that in my entire life, I'd never thought of that. Never. And it makes so much sense! I'd spent my life equating my name with some stupid brook in a song, or with being ill and now- what a cool thing. What an awesome thing! Last month, I even realized halfway though that it was really MY month- ApRILL! It's kind of like my own personal game of Where's Waldo. Finding hidden rills is so much fun!

Now don't get me wrong, I know I'm not the source of my RillPower, I believe I have been very, very blessed. Out of one of the worst situations I could ever have imagined myself in, God (or whatever you want to call Him/Her) has really done me a solid. Everyone has their own magic to share with the world- mine happens to have a catchy name.

Next year, I'll be remarried, and the possibility of changing my name looms again. What have I decided? Only time will tell!!

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