Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Name Game

When I was a little girl and daydreaming about my wedding (as admittedly, I often did), I always imagined taking my future husband's last name.

I also imagined marrying Lance Bass at Notre Dame Cathedral.

Yet when I got engaged last October, dropping my maiden name no longer seemed like such a no-brainer.

I was twenty seven years old. I'd had my name for nearly three decades. I liked my name, and I was proud of all the things I'd accomplished with it.

The "J" at the beginning and the double "L" at the end, they remind me of bookends. It's a wonderfully neat name. It's a happy name. It's a determined name—be all. I can be all, anything, everything I want to be.

Losing it suddenly didn't sound so appealing.

I considered dropping my middle name and using Beall instead, but that didn't feel right either. I was named after my grandma, and I love having her name as part of my own.

When I began telling people I was considering going with a double last name (no hyphen, just a simple space), I was surprised by the responses.

I heard everything from what a headache I'd be creating for the healthcare system to "Is Adam okay with that?"

Jeez Louise.

I certainly didn't like the idea of making anybody's job more difficult. And it hurt my heart to know that people would question the strength of my marriage all over the fact that I didn't simply drop my last name and swap in my husband's instead.

I mean, look at Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson for goodness sake. They seem completely fine, if you ask me.

I stopped thinking about the matter entirely for a few months, giving flimsy, fickle answers whenever someone asked if I was changing my last name.

Ultimately, Etsy made me decide.

Because I had to type a note to the seller of my personalized wedding dress hanger.

I entered our wedding date and then paused.

My mind remained confused and unsure.

But my heart was confident.

My heart knew what to do. It always does.

Mrs. Beall Mueller, I typed, pressing each key down with certainty.

I thought my childhood self would approve. I also think she would agree Adam is a much better match than Lance Bass.

Though a wedding at Notre Dame?

That would have been pretty darn glamorous.

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