I lost something today. Something valuable to me.
I suppose that is not right, as I know where it went, and in fact it was I who gave it away. And willingly. But it feels like a loss. And it is my loss alone. For my friends remind me that this is what I wanted. And it was. And it is.
My husband does not see it as a loss. For him, it is gain. It is a symbol of all the gains we have made together, all the struggles we have overcome, and our brand new commitment to each other.
And I agree. For all those things are true. But when I look at that new piece of plastic, with those two words that separately are familiar and now, put together, look strange. I miss the old combination.
For in giving up my name, I did not expect to feel the girl attached to it drift away. The girl who, before him, lived and learned and loved. And with him, slowly added an “us” to a “me” when decisions had to be made.
And this was an “us” decision. Made with two loving hearts and two thoughtful heads in the joy and expectations of a burgeoning family. And that is how us decisions should be made. So I do not regret any of it.
I know that like my mother before me, my grandmother before her, and generations of strong, lovely, progressive women whose blood flows through my veins, I will adjust. And like my aunt, who chose two names, and my new sister-in-law, who chose to not change, I am making the right choice. And all those women before me with their brave, beautiful choosing, have allowed it to be not only a loss, but also a choice.
So tomorrow, when my students call me by the name that is new, I will smile. I will embrace this new combination that is me. The me that is with him. And when they forget, I will smile also. And remember that maybe the name may be changed. But the girl is not. Gaining does need to mean losing. And I am the addition of all that has happened. New experiences do not lead to subtractions.
But tonight I will go home. And eat some chocolate. And drink some wine. And shed some tears. Because when you lose something. Even when it is your choice. Even when it is right. It is okay to mourn.
Photo by APW Sponsor Jesse Holland