11 days and counting

My wedding to-do list has dwindled to the point that it’s not stressing me out. There’s enough to keep me busy over the next 11 days, but not so much that I’m struggling to figure out how to get it all done. This past weekend was one of only two that I had left during which to get shit done, and I did get shit done but I also managed to find time to go to a marriage-themed book club discussion that lasted 3.5 hours (and was awesome) and attend a local double-A baseball game complete with Jimmy Buffett post-game cover band concert.

And now that I’m not stressing out about things that need to get done before the wedding I have time to be stressed out about the gravity of what’s about to happen. Most days I’m convinced that very little will be different about life other than the extra ring on my left ring finger and my last name come July 5 when I return to Knoxville and work after three weeks of sabbatical, wedding and honeymoon. But every so often the feeling of a significant period of my life ending and another one beginning sort of grabs me by the shoulders and gives me a really hard shake.

I was in Memphis last weekend without the Modern Love Machine and Modern Pooches for my bridal shower and to knock out some last-minute weddingy things. Being in my childhood bedroom alone late that Thursday night nearly caused me a meltdown. It was as if I regressed to the 18-year-old girl I was when I last lived there full time, which made getting married seem like a ridiculously grown-up thing to do and something I was clearly not old enough for or ready for.

And then there’s the bit about changing my name. When we first got engaged, I considered just saying that it wasn’t going to happen. I love my last name — it’s solid, fairly unusual and easy to say and spell. I share it with a washed-up pop star turned country musician who I happen to appreciate (and his wife has the same first name as I). I’m an only child who happens to like her family. Many people I know simply refer to me by my last name. It’s been an intrinsic part of my identity for 29 years.

But then the MLM gave me a good reason why he’d like us to share a name, one that I didn’t have the heart to argue with. And I’m not even bold enough to suggest him taking my name, and I think my first name works better with his last name than the other way around. The hyphenated route isn’t for me (though I don’t have a problem with it), so my compromise was to continue using my married name professionally — a sort of nom de plume — and change my name legally for everything else. I do like the idea of a sort of dual identity. I mean, I’ve been living a double life ever since The Modern Gal exerted herself on the blogosphere anyway, so what’s one more identity to throw into the mix? So while I’m happy to change my name and establish ourselves even more as one, I’ve warned the MLM there could be a major meltdown in the near future as I go through the process of mourning the loss of my maiden name, even if the loss is partial in nature.

Beyond those heavy feelings, I can say without an ounce of doubt that I’m terribly excited for the wedding. I’ve been envisioning this damn thing for so long, I’m so ready for it to just be here. I’m even more ready to see my friends and family and to laugh and cry and eat and drink and be merry and married. I’m convinced this will be a damn good party, and if it doesn’t seem to be living up to that standard then I’ll find a way to make sure it does, even if it requires me dancing on a bar on Beale Street. I’m also damned excited to be off work for three weeks and with an excuse to tell my company to fuck itself if it tries to bother me during that time and excited for a nine-day excursion to another continent.

But even more than all of those things, I’m looking forward to my life come July 5, a life that doesn’t include thinking about who needs to be called, who hasn’t returned a call, what needs to be arranged and what’s left to do on my wedding to-do list. I’m ready to get back to my hobbies and lazy days off. I’m ready to get back to working on my future. I ready to make my friends a priority in my life in a way they haven’t been for quite some time. I would say I’m ready for life to return to normal, but none of that has been the norm for me for a very long time.

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14 Responses to 11 days and counting

  1. Andrea says:

    I’m celebrating my 4 year anniversary in July and I remember going through a lot of what you described. I kept feeling like I was way too young to get married. And then thinking about how I could never date again. But I realized I didn’t want to date anyone else, and that helped, haha. After the wedding nothing much changed, really. We just have fun calling each other wife and husband instead of girlfriend and boyfriend.

    I decided I didn’t want to change my last night for the same reasons you mentioned. I love my last name. So I didn’t. I’ve only heard one person make a negative comment about it, but I don’t care. And my husband was very supportive of my decision. We decided that if we have children they will have our combined, hyphenated last names. And then when they’re older they can just pick one if they want. I think in this day and age the name change is a very difficult choice for a woman to make. I know I felt a lot of pressure, imagined or otherwise, from outsiders when it came time to decide.

    Good luck getting everything finished with your wedding! I look forward to reading the details!

    • I’m very interested to see how the next generation deals with marriage and names. It’s so much more widely accepted to keep your name — which is a great thing — but it does open you up to so many more choices and maybe in a way make it harder.

  2. Mel says:

    As someone who has followed you (for what feels like YEARS) online, I am SO genuinely excited and happy for you. For someone not all that interested in marriage (ahem, me), the sound of you and MLM together — changed last names and all — just melts my heart (I made an “awww” sound too). 😉

    Truly, best wishes to you (and I can’t wait to see pictures and read about your big day).
    Cheers!

    • You’re one of my longest-running blog friends! (I can’t believe our real lives haven’t crossed paths yet. One day I’m coming to Pittsburgh though).

      And your comment means a lot — I’m not 100 percent a marriage person either, which is why the fact that I’m confident in marrying the MLM should say a lot.

  3. sizzle says:

    Congrats on being so close and feeling calm and ready. Way to go! I imagine myself having a similar “how am I old enough for this to be happening” moment (and I am 38 and not engaged!). I don’t plan on changing my last name as nothing really goes with my first name as well but it’s quite a dilemma to figure out the right way to go with that. Luckily, Mr. D is okay with it.

    • That’s such a blessing that Mr. Darcy is OK with it. It will make that transition a bit smoother.

      I think you never feel old enough so if you want to get married, you just have to do it and accept that. (Well, unless your 19 in which case I’d say HOLY CRAP, SLOW DOWN WITH YOUR LIFE, but you’re not 🙂

  4. katelin says:

    i can’t believe how close your wedding is, that’s just the best kind of crazy. and basically just yay to everything in this post and all the wedded almost marriedness, woo wee!

  5. Holy crap, it’s so soon! TEN DAYS now. (Not that you need reminding, ha.)

    • Usually I’m pretty good at comprehending how long two weeks or 10 days is, but I swear I think — 10 more days — and my brain does. not. compute. It’s laughing at me, telling me I’m making it all up.

  6. Julianne says:

    You sound so calm and ready! I am torn about changing my name too (and I don’t even have a man in the picture), but your solution sounds like a good one – esp. since you’ve built a career with that name.

    Can’t wait to hear about the wedding and good luck in the coming days!

    • Thanks. It’s a sticky thing, but compromise is good.

      I don’t know why I am so calm, other than past evidence shows I freak out at minor events and am totally calm at major ones. I think that’s a good quality?

  7. courtney says:

    Having never been married myself, I can’t say for sure, but it sounds like everything you’re feeling is 100% normal. I can very easily envision myself regressing to my 18-year-old self in my old bedroom before such a huge milestone.

    I like your approach to the name change. I’m all for women doing whatever floats their boat as far as married vs. maiden names, but for me, I’d probably keep my maiden name as a middle name and adopt my husband’s last name. I like the idea of name solidarity in the marriage, but keeping a bit of my maiden self as well.

  8. Shannon says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The best thing about being married is being married. No planning, no nothing except being with the person you love and living life.

    I’m so happy for you both! Enjoy the next few days and enjoy your honeymoon even more! I drank a lot of wine the week of my wedding. As much as I had done and was ready, there were nerves that just wouldn’t let my mind calm down. I hope you have a peaceful week!

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