Brian and I got our marriage license last Friday. It was a big deal and not all at the same time.
The courthouse closed at 4 that day, so we each took off work early and met there super early in case there was a crazy line. This wedding planning madness has trained me to plan for, well, madness.
I got there way early, earlier than Brian, and ended up getting super anxious just because I could.
Did he get away from work when he’d planned to?
Had he gotten in a car accident?
Why wasn’t he answering his phone?
Naturally, everything was fine except for in my head.
So he got there, and we walked into the courthouse hand-in-hand. (It had taken all my willpower not to take out my anxiety on him, because I did not want to pick a fight right before going in and getting a piece of paper that proves we want to love each other for the rest of our lives……you know, priorities.) There was no line. The paperwork was easy. The lady made us raise our right hands and asked us if everything on the paperwork was true. The way she phrased it made us both say “I do” at the same time and we looked at each other and had a moment. I giggled.
The whole process was pretty quick and easy and we left feeling special and lovey-dovey, but as we left with our paperwork in hand, I felt a pang of….sadness.
There was a spot on the paperwork where each of us could denote if and how we wanted our names changed. I have given this issue a lot of thought, and I think I finally came to the best arrangement for me and for the two of us, although I must admit, I still have misgivings.
I decided, we decided, that I would take Brian’s last name as my own, and I am replacing my current middle name with my maiden name.
Lots of factors went into making this decision. I don’t want to “give up” my own last name because it’s been connected to my identity and how I exist in the world. It’s German, it’s amazing, and I love it. Brian’s last name is…..pretty freaking fantastic, for those of you who know us in the real world. It’s cooler than my last name, and it sounds amazing as my own last name. Like, I could be a rapper it’s so cool.
I love the concept of hyphenating, and I also like the concept of creating a whole new last name for two people getting married. Those ideas, in a perfect world, seem the most egalitarian to me. Buuut….we just didn’t like either of these options for us, with these particular last names. As for hyphenating, our last names end with the same sound and it sounded weird. As for creating a new name…..we just couldn’t bring ourselves to chop Brian’s awesome last name in half with mine. Trust me, it’s just too good.
We thought about just keeping our own last names and not changing anything. That’s still an option, but I know I’ll want to have the same last name as my children, and having an in-common family name just makes sense to us.
As you all know, I really have a problem with blindly following traditions just because, which is why all these options were considered and lamented over. In no way was I going to take my husband’s last name without considering all my options first. And my birth name will still get that spot on legal forms…and in my heart.
So. I’m going to honor this sadness….It’ll be weird to introduce myself with a new last name. My therapy services will be advertised under a different name….my new business cards are going to make me do double takes.
I wonder how long it’ll take me to get my new signature right?
All of those thoughts come with pangs of sadness….and some excitement too.