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I remember weeks before my wedding day,
sitting at a coffee shop and ignoring the paper I was supposed to be writing for
school in favor of practicing—over and over—my new signature that I would use
after I got married. It felt foreign to me, and I struggled with trying to make
what was going to become my new last name familiar. I was going from
one of the most popular last names to a surname that people could hardly
pronounce, much less one they've ever heard of.
I have recently read some articles on the
topic of women who opposed changing their last name when they got married. Damn
the man! Girls, keep your last name! You are strong and independent! I'm so
glad I kept mine because I didn't have to change it back after the divorce!
Almost seven years ago, those thoughts
couldn't have been further from my mind. I wasn't changing my last name because
it's what you were just supposed to do, or that I was old-fashioned. I was
changing my last name to match my best friend's. I was changing it because we
were two people, becoming one. He was my life-partner, my soul mate, the man I
wanted to sleep next to every night until we left this earth. When I stooped
over that certificate in the cramped church office, and printed my new
husband's last name under my own line, I had no idea what that act was truly
going to symbolize years down the road.
See, the man I share a last name with held
me when I collapsed onto the kitchen floor sobbing after telling him we lost
our baby. He gripped my hand on the downstairs couch when I told him the IVF
cycle didn't work. I saw him cry after a horrible fight where I screamed at him
that I wanted to leave him. The man I share a last name with has sucked up his
fear of needles and has executed intramuscular injections of progesterone into
my body every night with the expertise of a seasoned nurse during the last four
embryo transfers. To date, he has watched me pee on several of my 42 pregnancy
tests, and never batted an eye when I lined them up and made him analyze them
with me. He has grown into the man that my daddy knew I deserved.
When life is getting to hard, I don't have to look around for him, because he's already come up and grabbed my hand, ready to face any sort of challenge alongside me.
The day I changed my name, I wasn't just
filling in the space in the marriage certificate. I was making a commitment,
that for better or for worse (and six years of infertility is by far "for worse")
we were partners. We were joined up together to face the most devastating of
losses and we were going to come out stronger.
The day I changed my name, I made a
commitment to him. That I would love him, back him, and be on his side no
matter what we faced. I made a commitment to never leave no matter how bad
things get. I made a commitment to fight like hell for him, for our marriage.
The day I changed my name, I chose us over
When infertility hit, harder than we could
ever imagine, it was in remembering why I chose to take his name, that told me
I could get through this. That I could bear losing my babies, the loss of my
own eggs, the anxiety of treating a gene mutation while very newly pregnant, as
long as I had him.
I'm proud that I share his last name,
because I couldn't ask for anyone better to spend my life or my checking account with. When life is getting to hard, I don't have to look
around for him, because he's already come up and grabbed my hand, ready to face
any sort of challenge alongside me.
I want to go back to that girl in the coffee shop seven years ago,
frantically writing her new last name over and over, put my hand over hers and
tell her it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter how the signature looks. It's who
shares that last name that will be important. It's the man behind that last
name that will not only hold her hand, kiss her and make it better, but get
her through things she could never fathom and do it never leaving her side.