As we prepared for our hearing, I asked my daughter Hannah what she was going to say to the judge if she was asked why she wanted to change her name.
Unfortunately, this would be Hannah’s second court related appearance. Her first, was when she was just 6 months old and her sperm donor was trying to delay the child support order by requesting a DNA test.
I was enraged as an officer of the court swabbed my babies mouth and placed the contents in a sealed plastic bag. I was infuriated by his pettiness, insulted by his inference all while shaking my head at his foolishness.
My daughter bears the most resemblance of his four children, yet the only child he demanded a DNA test for when he needs one for that last son of his but I won’t go there.
That mistress, baby Mama, wife, ex-wive and wife again has ran the most game on him. Poor thing…but that ain’t my story to tell.
Hannah told me what she thought she would say which was different than what she actually said when we were in court.
The Judge called the calendar Hannah Alexandria Harris. Hannah rose. Proud and tall. “Present”.
The entire room turned to her. The judge hearing a young voice, looked up from her docket and found Hannah’s eyes.
Ms. Hannah, why are you in my courtroom today?
“To change my name, Maam’?’
“Hannah do you have school today?”
“Okay. Well, your case will be heard first so we can get you off to school and you are absolutely delightful by the way”.
“Thank you Maam”.
Hannah sat down and reached for my hand. She was tapping her foot.
After the calendar was called, the Judge took a quick recess and returned and called Hannah Alexandria Harris vs David Vincent Harris.
David Vincent Harris did not.
An officer of the court was sent into the gallery to call his name and Hannah was alarmed. “They are going to look for him” she asked with worry in her eyes.
“Baby, he is not out there. The gallery is vacant as is his soul”.
Once the court officer returned alone, Hannah breathed a sigh of relief and the Judge explained to Hannah that I would have to speak for her because of her age. Hannah told her she wanted to speak for herself, and the Judge smiled warmly at her and allowed Hannah to speak into my ear and I repeated exactly what she said.
Everyone in the courtroom was sitting at the end of their seat.
Hannah told the judge that she hates when her last name is called because it reminds her of an absent person and she does not want to be associated with him. He does not know her and she know longer wishes to know him.
Hannah said that she wanted the name of the woman who has taken care of her since she was born. The woman who helps her with homework, shows up for cheer, dance, drama and gymnastics. She wants the name of the woman who teaches her everything and who is always there for her.
She wants the name of the woman who took her to sign all those papers when we bought our home (that surprised me) and the properties we have purchased since (I always take her to the closing table).
And this is very important, she said. I am going to be somebody when I grow up. I am going to make a difference in this world. A big difference and everybody is going to know my name and they will not know him. They will know me and he is not going to show up later in my life talking about I am his daughter.
No, I am not his daughter. I am Dana Perry’s daughter and I want my Mommies name!”
I could hardly speak. I was in tears.
The bailiff was in ear shot and uttered “Wow”.
The Judge wanted to give her a hug and an ovation but did not.
She looked at Hannah and said ” Hannah you have been heard and it is hereby Ordered and it is Decreed this day, that said child HANNAH ALEXANDRIA HARRIS is now HANNAH ALEXANDRIA PERRY….
Hannah burst out with an enthusiastic “YEAH!!!!!!”.Mommy, is it over? Is it over?”
Yes, baby, it is over”.
She gave me the biggest hug and grabbed her little purse and struted out of that courtroom like she owned it.
As we skipped to the elevator, she beamed.
“Mommy, I am free. I am free of him”.
“Yes, baby you are”.
Thousands of little girls are in this same situation. Have this same pain. This same name trauma and I think you should think about doing something about it.
She looked up at me.
“Yeap. Mommy, maybe I will. I am just the little girl to do something about it”.
Penning my Motherhood