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.