What’s in a Name?

This is for you guys out there. Something that you may not have considered.

This was inspired by my Facebook connection to my High School graduating class of 1974, since, the women are much harder to identify. It reminded me of something.

The social convention of women taking their husband’s last name is common and seems quite mundane, especially to the husband.

It wasn’t really easy for me, and I suspect, it hasn’t been easy for many women. We create an individuality, a reputation and a persona as we grow up then our “identity” is renamed, changed, in one day.

At first, my biggest fear was accidentally misspelling this name but it felt like I was hiding my true identity for years. Soon, came the ordinary questions from locals about this family, which I really had no history with. Few asked about my “maiden” family because it was hidden but I had been THAT former person all of my life. There was a brand new persona that was in its infancy and I felt a little lost.

In my case, we lived (and still do) in a small city where our families had an equal recognizability. I was not as much an alien, as a bipolar person. For years, I was introduced with two names, by folks who were “in the know”. The old person and this new one…I hadn’t changed a bit though. Creepy when you really get down to it.

I realized that this was a sore point for years, when I uncharacteristically made a snipe at friend of my husband’s family. About two years into our marriage, our first child was born. My husband’s family friend was admiring our beautiful daughter and commented, in jest, “You should had named her Edwina after her father.”

I felt flushed for a moment, then said, “Why would I? She already has HIS last name!”

The rush of resentful emotion startled me, as much as, the poor woman.

Now, I’ve been married for 34 years and I’m no longer the “maiden”. I have built one fine new reputation and persona and I’m comfortable. But when I try to relate to friends who knew me by an ancient name, there’s still a pinch…a moment of mourning, about that not so mundane name change long ago.

23612_411477303827_530328827_5007867_4476253_nSusan

Happy Valentine’s Day… whomever you are?

Happily Ever After

February xxx 019My husband grew up in a pet-free environment, so when he married me, we had many battles over living with pets.

We will be celebrating our 35th anniversary in July but the pet angle was a great big “bone” of contention for the better part of those years.

To the non-pet people, they are messy, costly and really get in the way of vacationing .

To a pet person, they are comforting, fun, and who needs a vacation, when the pet has to be left behind?

It took many years (about 26) for my husband to finally “see the light”. I can thank Ollie, my Jack Russel, for this transformation. Getting Ed to accept a new puppy took cunning and some deceit (I came clean eventually.), as well as, a sister who was willing to be an accomplice. My need to have a puppy took top priority. My heart was saddened by my husband’s inability to recognize how desperate was my desire for a dog. I could not imagine why anyone, who loves me, would deny me something so critical to my happiness.

Well, there was a power issue. “Who’s the boss?” plagues many marriages. BUT, it was mostly due to the fact that he had never felt the bond of a dog. He couldn’t place any importance on an “imaginary” need.

Then came Ollie. The little guy and Ed became fast friends. Ollie would lean against Ed and beg to sit with him. I would refer to Ed as “Daddy” and pointed out how much Daddy was missed by Ollie.

All things considered it was a very successful effort. Yes, I’ve gotten my way but the best part is having given Ed the love of a dog.

Now I catch Ed talking to Ollie on a regular basis, “What do you think of THAT, dog?” is a heart-warming phrase repeated daily. Ed invites Ollie under the bedding at night too. “Come on dog, want your blanket?” (For you wise guys-NO, he’s not talking to me.)

Above, they are pictured in a familiar camp posture. A man, a beer and his dog…Happily ever after. 😉

Marriage: Just What’s in the Cards?

A standard deck of 52 playing cards was hanging out on a lovely table in a  worn but comfortable case when a deck of Star Wars collector cards came along. The Star Wars cards were the same size and weight as the playing cards.

“We know you play rummy and it’s a popular game indeed. You get to have a fine cover and are better cared for than we because Star Wars cards are not as popular. Actually, we are just starting to become noticed and desire the same treatment as you. Being kept in a case and played on a felt table is the dream of all cards. It is the best way for cards to be treated.”

The 52 looked at the Star Wars cards. “I had not realized that all cards were not cared for in the same manner. You certainly deserve fine treatment. Come sit beside me. I’d like to help you find a nice case to hold you too.”

The Star Wars cards frowned. “I want to be just like you. Let me slip into your deck and share YOUR case.”

“I don’t understand?” said 52. “If you slip into my deck all the rules will change. I will have to become crowded and the old games, that I love, will take on a new meaning. The new games will take years to develop and we will both lose our original identity.”

“I don’t care. I am as valuable as you and want what you have, NOW. You are so arrogant 52. If you do not give me your comfort, I must assume that you just hate Star Wars cards. I thought you were nice?”

“Please, it is unkind of you to think in order to have a nice case and fine table that you need to take mine. I would be happy to help you establish your own table and I want you to know all the same “card comforts” that I enjoy. But taking mine is not the answer. I’m comfortable with rummy and, in time, you will be comfortable with your own game.”

The Star Wars cards stormed off while calling 52 a prejudiced, selfish deck.

The End

BTW- The Star Wars cards went to court and were awarded occupancy in 52’s case, at least in Massachusetts. Needless to say, 52 decks everywhere are angry and no one is exactly sure how to play rummy in Massachusetts. At the very least, the games are way more complicated now.

Random Word Story #21~Marriage is Served

Insecurity by zummi
Insecurity by zummi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Random words generated by creativitygames.net

One set of words used to create a spontaneous story.

soldier…eyebrow…hot plate…medal…appetite…pub

Here is my story:

Living with mental illness was not his problem but dealing with it was. David kept wondering if HE were the problem? Of course, then he could fix himself. Really? Did he have to be the one who always made amends and emotionally support Jen? This was the first time that he even wondered if her paranoia was “catchy”.

With much guilt, he’d considered if he had married the wrong woman on countless occasions. She’d made him laugh and had that playful wit and was “easy on the eyes” too. But after 30 years of marriage, he was tired of being the brave little soldier. His medal of honor for staying married had no sparkle, faded color and he wondered if there was even such an honor. When staying married is a choice, not a vision, how long could he endure?

The pub gave him a temporary reprieve but also served as an irritant. He’d return to a dark house, even if it really wasn’t late at all. Jen would have turned in and left him a meal beside the hot plate.

Was HE crazy or was the dark house a signal…his punishment for having a “life” in spite of Jen? It wasn’t only the cold homecoming, but the irritated swipes for the next few days. An eyebrow raised when she’d ask, ” Did you have fun with YOUR friends?”

Jen could convince him that he’d done something wrong any time he questioned her motives, her reasons and once-in-a-while her mental health.

“No one is perfect.” He rationalized. “Maybe I could give up my pub visits and all would be fine. Maybe I could support her more…”

He was at a loss. Everything that he might enjoy was threatened by Jen’s insecurity.

Ha, was he really qualified to tell someone that they were insecure? Maybe he WAS the problem?

David was a fair, likable sort who didn’t much like feeling caged. But he didn’t like the feeling that there must be a “menu” somewhere that could serve up just the right condiments to make this marriage happier.

David was also not a quitter. He would keep giving and apologizing for awhile more while searching for that magical meal. But frankly, he was losing his appetite.

Family Love

When a marriage brings two people together, it brings two family philosophies together as well. The man and wife are drawn to each other but they just may have different ideas about life, love and parenting that can place a strain on their relationship.

At first, love is physical…life is forever…dreams are shared.

Then, they fall into expectations they have from a personal journey that each partner has taken without the other. The growing up in another household. The couple comes to realize that their dreams and expectations are grounded in that separate upbringing.

The sharing of love, hopes for happiness and family unity are defined differently in many nuclear families and can be a real obstacle to a “happily ever after” scenario in the brand new family made in marriage.

Recognizing the differences is the first step.

Hopefully the next step is accepting the differences as different. It is all too easy to feel they are wrong and right.

Overall, each partner needs to accept yet retain their separateness. People have signals that require definition to each other or misinterpretations are inevitable.

Being a family is not easy…combining phylosophies, religion, values, and dreams can be really tricky. It takes much effort and a lot of unconditional love and two people who support each other equally. Good luck to everyone!