Friday, June 29, 2012

Things Were Said...and Here's Why

                                                                  NOT OUR HOTEL

Our vacation was incredible. We drove a little over 2,400 miles, visited two cooler and more scenic states in addition to the wider and flatter parts of our own, ate and drank with abandon, witnessed a beautiful wedding, heard about the marriage of another set of friends the day after we left them and celebrated our own anniversary. And now we're back. My brain has been sufficiently erased of the stresses which previously plagued it. If this is what electroshock therapy is like, then sign me up.

I would like to clarify my last post as well as its timing. During one notable wedding anniversary my sweet husband offered to accompany me down to the courthouse and buy my old name back for me. I didn't take him up on that offer for several reasons, the main one being that we had been married for a significant period of time and we had three children. Changing my name at that juncture would have offered up the appearance that we were in a bad place. And we were not. We are not.

However, every year the Hubs makes the same offer. He's watched me flinch when we get mail addressed to Mr. and Mrs. George Clooney (sorry...I just drew a name out of a hat and it happened to be his). Or worse....a birthday card addressed only to Mrs. George Clooney...and my first name nowhere in sight. Or phone calls from people conducting a survey and asking for the head of the household. When I was younger I used to say, "And just who do you think THAT might be?" or "You're speaking to her.", but now I just say "There IS no head of the household here. We are equal partners." And then I hang up.

Because he does more than offer lip service to the words, "I understand that this is hard for you",  our anniversary has become a yearly milestone where he maintains that he's ready for the change whenever I am. In social situations my husband--whom I still adore for reasons too numerous to mention here-- introduces me using my real name and--for right now--that's enough. I don't mind using his name at work because it is easier and SO MUCH SHORTER than the one I used for 27 years. But in my head? I'm still that kid bearing the last name with 13 letters that everyone mispronounces and no one can spell.

Why didn't I change it back in the beginning? Because I was stupid. This is not to say that women who do change their names are stupid. I'm saying that I didn't know myself well enough then to intuit what would have been right for me, and by the time I figured it out (Yes. I'm slow. You can say it.), I felt that this window of opportunity had closed too far for me to squeeze through it.

So it was the Hubs' yearly offer--and not the new marriages we were celebrating on this trip--that brought on my  People (women) can do what they want and I have a wide variety of friends who reflect all the name choices women can make these days. I've just always been amazed, though I probably shouldn't be, at the legions of men who are slow to get on board with those choices.

In other news I saw that some of the stores are already featuring school supply displays. Upon spying the rows of crayons and spiral notebooks I had but one thought and it was this: "Angel of Death, take me now!" 

I am nowhere rested enough to face the classroom again, the likes of which--at my school-- made the movie "Midnight Express" look like a delightful spin on that teacup ride at Disneyland. Thank you,

Right now I'm enjoying the coolness of bare feet. The satisfaction of knowing that I can pick up a book for pleasure any time I want. Or phone a friend for lunch and then actually go. There's a cat passed out on the cushion next to me and a glass of iced tea on the table in front of me. My hair no longer feels like it's on fire. I'm able to think about and talk about things that AREN'T school and it's an incredible feeling. It's like finding a hidden room in your house that you didn't even know existed...and there's all this cool stuff in it. Enjoy all your cool stuff, blog peeps. That's what summer is all about.


  1. Oh, you make me giggle. Glad to hear you had such a wonderful vacation. And, selfishly, it's always nice to get some validation that I did the right thing by keeping my name ... Bc I sure don't get it from my family.

  2. Welcome back. I have no strong feelings on the name thing--whatever people want to do should be just fine.

  3. If it makes you feel any better (it won't) I kept my name but I still get letters addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Colin Firth. By so-called friends, even! I do miss the fact that I don't share the last name of my kids. But I do like the fact that when someone calls and asks for Mrs. Firth I can honestly say "No one lives here by that name." Click.

    Very good of your husband to annually offer to take you to make the name change. The man who understands this principle is a rare bird. I've known women whose husbands insisted, begged even, that they change their name. The fact that you've got one of the rare birds might explain why you've been so long in keeping his name.

  4. I'm so glad your summer is refreshing--mentally and physically.
    What a great guy to offer you a return on your name. I married a Neanderthal who'd never consider that. It's a tough thing to lose your identity, your OWN name, but even tougher, I imagine, to reclaim it. All the explanations would exhaust me.
    My children were PISSED to see the Toys R Us sales flyer with back to school stuff--at the end of JUNE!


Be nice. It's not as hard as it sounds.