No, not blogging here right now. But I wanted to take a moment to point you toward this post over on Mireio. I’m planting seeds this summer to help feed the hungry in my community. I’m hoping you’ll want to join me… so, take a look and let me know. I have seeds just waiting to be sent to YOU! Let’s Feed the WORLD!
After the ridiculousness of last week, I started to password protect this post. But then decided, it’s my truth. As Ann Lamott has so eloquently said, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”
When our son was born, I filled out the birth certificate paperwork very carefully. His father had taken my maiden name in hyphenate form years before. On our honeymoon, in fact… in what was a romantic gesture (if a bit short-sighted) he opted to add my name to his.
Today, it might seem obvious. But at the time, it caused a stir. I had already angered his family by keeping my maiden name as a middle name. I tried to explain, “I plan to take IZ’s name in my personal life. But in my professional life, I want both. Unhyphenated, but both.”
My father-in-law supported my decision. My mother-in-law was incensed. It would be five years before she would address anything to us in our new combined name. Insisting instead to address everything, “Mr. and Mrs. J.A. Larsen.”
Probably not the best move on her part. Her obstinateness on the subject just sealed my resolve. OMG… I’m as oppositional as my child. Figures.
But I never had any expectation that IZ would follow suit. And I certainly didn’t expect my child to keep my maiden name. So, when it came time to fill out his birth certificate paper work I was careful. I gave him five names. No hyphens. One last name.
And I fully expected our son to drop the OATES portion of our name once he flew the coop. Baby chicks do that, think for themselves. I should know. However, Geo has been feeling the itch for the past several years. And we’ve always said to him, “Sweetie, if you want to be called ‘Stardust Revived’, we’ll call you that. It your name.”
I’ve always told him I would not, could not be upset with any choice he made. Though, I prefer he kept his given first name, the rest was up for grabs.
He has opted, for example, to Americanize his first name for strangers. He still spells his name as it appears on his birth certificate, but the French pronunciation is confusing for most people, so he has stopped insisting that his name be said correctly. He’s adopted a pseudonym for all his programming online—a name, that tellingly includes Larsen as a last name. And he, quietly, wonders what the future will look like when he is simply, Geo Larsen.
But as of late, I have sensed a hesitation from him. His desire to walk away from my past is palpable. He no longer considers my family of birth his family. He’s had enough (who can blame him?). However, he feels conflicted. “Giving up ‘Oates’ feels like I’m disrespecting you!”
Have I told you how much I love that kid? Like his father, he is compelled by his love for me. And with that comes a huge responsibility to not abuse their loyalty!
So, I’ve sat with it. Our son’s desire to embrace the family that loves him, the heritage he understands, the people who have loved him without criticism or judgment. Those same people have not always afforded me the same grace. But they have, without doubt, embraced my child. And through the years, attempted to embrace me as well.
No easy task, as I’ve been labeled difficult since birth!
The more I sat with the idea, the more I realized that for Geo to move forward it would require that I move forward as well. So, last year I floated the idea to IZ, “He wants to be a Larsen. Which, he IS. I think he needs us to be Larsens, too. Just Larsens.”
I was prepared for this moment. I’ve long anticipated the change, if only because hyphenated names are common and what do you do when you fall in love and marry another hyphenate? FOUR names strung together? I don’t think so. Even three gets complicated. YES, he could marry some girl willing to take his name. But, Geo is his father’s child. You know he’d be trying to find a way to include his beloved, like his father did before him! So, dropping the “Oates” part of his name is inevitable.
What I could not have predicted is my desire to do the same. I could not have imagined that at 41, I would not only be considering a name change for my child, but I would be considering it for ME as well. It’s amazing where our children lead us.
This photo was taken for a photo tour of my house a few years back. But I go back to it often, because it sums us up. On the porch, having tea, together.
In a few short days (Saturday) IZ and I will celebrate 22 years together. Married. We don’t count those years before because that number is getting ridiculously large!
Wedded bliss? Um, sometimes.
Wedded strife? Um, sometimes.
Mostly, it’s two people committed to striving together. And that in itself, is a beautiful thing.
It’s the nature of marriages, any marriage. You bump into things you weren’t expecting. Life hands you lemons. You make lemonade or margaritas. You squabble. You row. You fight. You endeavor toward intimacy. And it’s not always pretty.
But I choose to write about the good. The beautiful. The bliss. And I will continue to do so, despite the recent impulse of the blogosphere to bare its soul. While I applaud the willingness of bloggers to get real and share the hard stuff. To forsake, if only for a few moments, the urge to “pretty it up” and make it seem presentable. When it comes to my marriage, I blog the beauty.
I’ll show you my laundry. And the works in progress. And weeds in the yard along with the before pictures and the posts about failed recipes. I’ll tell you that I struggle with my weight and staying on task and being charitable to neighbors who kill my roses.
I’ve moved the party over here —-> Come join me. (I may or may not pick up this blog in the future. I may or may not write a farewell post. But, it’s been 10 years of blogging here… and well… it’s time for a change. Change is good.) Don’t think of this as an end, but as a beginning.
Manufactured sunlight never looked so pretty. (Product shot I’m not using. . . because apparently on Etsy I’m not supposed to be “Artsy”. Gah!)