Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What's in a name

There are all kinds of debates on the rationale behind a woman changing her name after she gets married. Some women believe it's the equivalent of giving up your identity, others think it makes sense for the whole family to have the one name only, and still others go out of their way to hyphenate--determined for their children to bear witness to who they were before, but still be marked by "who they have become."

My first time 'round the altar, I exerted the grueling effort to change my name immediately, and was happy to do it--excited even. Changing it back a mere four years later was less than a picnic, however, and I swore if I was ever married again, I would NOT under any circumstances give up my family name. Which I believed right up until it came time to send out the wedding invitations, and I made the conscious decision to exclude all of my extended family of the same last name.

Let me clarify my maiden name is only my Dad's name legally (not by birth), and the people in my extended family of the same last name are nothing less than white trash (who have chosen to ostracize me). I could tell stories of stripper cousins managed by fathers, and of the relatives who had a child by every man they "dated", and I could describe the conditions under which they live, and the lack of character from which they all operate, and I could go on and on.

If anything, I'm upset I've now fully realized the meaning of my maiden name and everything it's associated with (my immediate family not withstanding). I like the sound of my maiden name but that's where it ends.

So, despite the effort, I have changed my name and will go through and painstakingly change all of my id (sigh).

I admit going through the process again is a little unsettling because the last time I did it, it wasn't permanent and I can't stop that thought from crossing my mind.

Onwards and upwards.

I'll try and focus on the change as the opportunity it is for a better life, one that I hoped was possible from the first moment I met my sweet Robert O. : )

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Hey, where we going today...

A more beautiful day could not have been had.

I wasn't really nervous as I had my hair done with Suzy by my side. There were only a few butterflies while the ladies and Jorge buzzed about me as my makeup was applied. And when we left on time, I felt relatively calm during the hour ride to the chapel at Rafter Six Ranch.

My first bit of excitement came when I saw people through a side window arriving at the Ranch. The bridal party was off in a little room waiting for the horse drawn carriage to come pick up us up for the ceremony at 1pm. I checked and re-checked my make-up in a little compact Amanda had given me in my "Bride survival kit" -- complete with a little engagement photo of Rob and I, which I made sure to set up while I did my pre-ceremony primping. Suzy made sure I had a snack, Jorge was busy at my beck and call, and I remember feeling genuinely cared for by these supportive and wonderful people I'm so blessed to call my friends.

The carriage was a cute thing, all white, complete with a little heart shaped window that peeked out the back. As we slowly made our way through the field to the chapel, I was focused on the beauty of the mountains around us so I would be able to vividly recall the moment. As the chapel came into view, I became teary eyed seeing people lined along its steps to catch a glimpse of us as we came up.

When the chapel doors opened and the ladies and Jorge filed in, my dad was a bit nervous as he took my arm to lead me. I remember Rob's expression when he first saw me and how he had to look away because he was so filled with emotion. I forgot to go "slow" down the aisle and carry my "bouquet low" as Amanda had previously advised. : ) I was bursting with happiness to finally be there and see everyone smiling around me. The love and support surrounding us was uplifting.

Looking across from my sweet Robert at the alter, I tried to absorb every word and be completely present throughout our vows. I rarely stopped smiling. When we signed the registry and Rob's best man Rod stepped in as a witness, I noticed a few of his tears hit the table as he struggled to compose himself. When we finally faced our friends and family as Mr and Mrs, "Rocket Girl" swelled up from our musicians, Dolce and Amante, on flute and acoustic guitar. That's when I was overcome with emotion.

"Dream your dreams in my ear, just get me out of here, fly me around this world, Rocket Girl..." The flute acted as the vocals.

Outside we were flitting about getting in place for the receiving line when the chapel bells started ringing out above. I looked to the blue sky where the cross was illuminated among white clouds, and it was as though God was pronouncing us husband and wife. It was magical.

We made our way slowly through the fields and along the ranch property to get the remainder of our photos taken before heading back to the city as the rain came. Rob, Warren and I checked into the Sheraton, where Rob and I would make our own honeymoon suite--most of it thanks to Vicki who put together a little package with rose scented petals, and champagne and glasses. I simply added the music and little bride and groom duckies for the jacuzzi tub--not to mention all the fun lingerie I'd already been given at my bridal shower! ; )

The reception itself was absolutely lovely. The Rotary House still had its Stampede decorations up, so the log cabin had more country accents then normal which added a classy touch to the natural beauty of the venue. The ceiling was twined with twinkling white lights, and pseudo candle chandeliers hung all around. The centerpieces were charming square vases filled with clear rocks alit by orange immersible LED lights, and were topped with white Gerber daisies surrounded by delightful greenery (which poor Vicki and Kyle essentially assembled prior to cocktails starting).

Our MC was my close friend, Sean, a former broadcasting classmate who carried the evening off brilliantly with wonderful "he said, she said" snippets from Rob and I, which captured the essence of both our relationship and our personalities. My brother Darrin said grace before the meal, a "Cowboy buffet" complete with slow roasted ribs, steak, coleslaw, western Caesar salad and a warm apple berry crisp for dessert. We decided to have cupcakes instead of wedding cake and served those as more of a late night snack. The topper was a little cowboy groom dancing with a cowgirl bride. Our favors were orange and white M&M's which had "Tiffany & Robert" on one and our wedding date on the other.

Our first dance was as meaningful as I anticipated it would be. I was able to block out everyone around us and just feel the lyrics of "Should I fall behind" while Rob and I swayed to the music.

We danced, we sang, and we were full. Full of happiness, love and each other. Full of gratitude for the people who made the day a success and who came out to genuinely celebrate with us.

It was perfect.

On our last Anniversary, I wrote in Rob's card, "I always hoped a love like this was possible. Thank you for making that dream a reality every day."

I love hearing Rob call me his wife, and I feel a thrill each time I see his wedding ring catch the light. I feel different as his wife and I'm thankful for it.