Monday, October 17, 2011

"Mrs. Dr." part 2

In my last post, I shared the story of how I settled on keeping my maiden name after getting married.

By no means, though, have I always been satisfied with that decision.

Firstly, I don't like imagining a future child having to explain about Mom and Dad's different last names.  Will school officials look at that child's information form and assume that we're divorced?

I also get fatigued of correcting the people I can (new acquaintances) and mutely accepting the people I can't (mostly older family).  Certainly at work, I never have an issue.  And, let's face it, I spend more time at work than not.  Outside of work, though, it feels like I am constantly rubbing against the grain of social acceptability and convention.  As much as I hate to admit it, some secret part of me just doesn't like being "different."  The last name thing is certainly a marker for my non-traditional-self.*

More distressingly, my husband and I were touring a Revolutionary War graveyard in Philadelphia last year.  I looked at the gravestones of husbands and wives, solidly lying side-by-side, and realized the potential future implications of our decision.

"What if, after we both die, people don't realize we were married because our last names are different?"

My husband, in his usual implacable way, didn't seem too concerned, but I continued to silently wonder.  What if some descendant of ours gets confused while researching the family's genealogy?  I worry that we're one missing marriage license away from one of us being irrevocably obliterated from our families' historical records.

My husband's serenity, however, reminds me that our marriage isn't about some future record.  It's not about appeasing social convention or living up to other people's expectation of what we "should" be.  Our marriage is ultimately only about us, as we are in the here and now.  About our decisions, our struggles, and our joys - about the day to day reality of juggling careers and the rest of life.  It's time for me to let tomorrow worry about itself.**

We've got today to live.

* see post dated 1-9-11 re: baby and bridal showers...
** Matthew 6:34

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