Well, it happened! During the little while since I last wrote here, the little Miss became a Mrs.
Both the wedding day and the year leading up to it were incredibly dreamlike. Even as I sit here today just two months later, it all seems to have happened so very long ago. We planned our wedding for 355 days (exactly). Those days flew by, and were filled with fantastic parties, pretty shower dresses, blush-and-silver flower arrangements (blush-and-silver everything), champagne (often), smiles so big my mouth hurt, and, admittedly, a few tears. 2012 culminated with a wonderful day, and in its aftermath I find myself with a humbled sense of gratitude and a whole lotta love.
In the 8 weeks since we were married, I have become devoted to re-branding my business. I am excited and looking forward to diving in, and without the piles of wedding planning ‘to-do’s’ on my desk, I feel energetic and ready to work.
Okay… re-branding. First things first. Change my name: Bridget Drolshagen Chambers.
It seemed it should have been so easy – not to mention actually, quite a relief – to drop “Drolshagen”.
How tiring and monotonous it had become to begin every unfamiliar phone call with:
‘D,’ (as in dog).
‘S,’ (as in Sam). H-A
‘N,’ (as in Nancy).
“Not M. N!” “DROLS-HEY-GEN.”
How annoying it had become to let various strangers play their one-sided guessing game that began with, “Wow, long last name… what is its origin? Swedish?!” Of course, I never wanted to be rude to these strangers, so I’d try to WOW them with the very interesting fact that actually, DROLSHAGEN was a Town! In Germany! Usually, I didn’t even get the chance to impress upon them the riveting fact that the town had its own coat of arms, too… before realizing I had lost them. That conversation always seemed to end one way: “So, not Swedish, then?”
Aye yi yi.
How confusing it had become to make dinner reservations under the slightly shortened moniker, “Hagen,” only to have my friends arrive at the restaurant looking for me under my real (much longer) name, and hence, never find me.
I used to tell my friends I couldn’t wait to change my name…and as my dating relationship with Ryan progressed to the point that marriage was an eventual certainty, I was downright excited to say goodbye to Drolshagen.
Good riddance, I thought, once. Chambers is a writer’s name. Chambers is a name people can pronounce. And respect.
And on the phone: no spelling necessary. It’s Chambers. As in… Chambers.
But the truth is that in the days since the wedding, I have become a little scared to legally change my name. When I stop and think about it, I realize that Drolshagen has been attached to me from the minute there ever was a “me.” That this 3-syllable, German, and very long name has served as my lifelong faithful escort, and in some ways, made me who I am today.
Alphabetically, it sat me next to my first (and forever) friend on Day One of Kindergarten. It was the largely-printed label on the back of all my extra-curricular t-shirts, and it was the name I heard regularly yelled down the dormitory halls by friends I loved so much. It was the name I would type on my business copyright application, and the signature I would neatly endorse on my very first rent check. It is the title that ties me to my relatives and, more than that, it is the name that connects me to my Dad. It is most special to me because of that…
…All of a sudden, changing my name feels a little bit like that critical moment on the wedding day, when Dad kissed my cheek and guided me to my handsome almost-spouse … and something inside me, if only for the slightest millisecond, felt like while I was gaining a beautiful beginning with the love of my life, I was losing something, too.
Memories a year in the making now fit tightly into a shoebox within the His & Hers closet I share with my brand new husband (the 7-year-old inside me still gets giddy over that word). Inside the box, of course, are the beautiful heels that led me down the aisle, their signature red bottoms scuffed and scratched from dancing the starlit night away. Next to the shoes – our invitation, slightly wrinkled but still perfectly embossed with the major details of our big day. Under the invitation – a special handkerchief, my lucky sixpence, and my crinkled-but-still-sparkling veil. And at the very bottom, a picture of the dapper groom and myself, completing the collection with our most important memory of all: The uniting of two. The uniting of us. Ryan and Bridget. Last name and all.
When Romeo and Juliet poetically asked, “What’s in a name?” I think they were definitely on to something. And I’m here to tell you that William Shakespeare had it quite right when he told us that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
Sure, names tie us to the things we know. They define who we are as children, and they connect us to our parents and families. They give us our greatest nicknames and provide us some of our best memories. But we are, certainly, much more than our names. We are the lives we choose to live, we are the people we choose to be, and we are the futures we choose to create. And when we choose to marry, our names and lives may change a bit. Now, it’s only been two months, but so far the change feels pretty wonderful to me.
I was once a Drolshagen. I am now a Chambers.
But a Bridget by any name feels complete.