“Can you please make a new place card for me?” my daughter, Laura, texted me. She explained how I needed to change her last name to her new married name.
“I didn’t even think of that,” I said.
“Neither did I!” said my daughter. My future son-in-law was the one who thought of that important detail! Old habits are hard to break, I thought.
The day before, the three of us sat at the kitchen table. I had printed off place cards of the names of all the guests who would be attending the wedding. The weekend before that, we figured out where people would sit. The table number was on each card too. My future son-in-law held the spreadsheet in his hand, read off the names and table numbers while Laura stamped the back with that person’s food choice. The choices were represented by a cow, pig, chicken, carrot or fish.
When I first created the spreadsheet, I made eight columns. The names were first, with a column for each person’s response of yes or no, and if they were going to attend, what their food choice was. Of course I put Laura’s name on the sheet the way her name was at the time, and that’s how I made up her place card. I think I might have made a mental note about changing her name later, but with all the commotion, I forgot.
When wedding plans started unfolding, I wondered if Laura would keep her last name. She informed us that she was going to take her husband’s last name, and we all supported her decision. I told her the story about how my dad wanted me to keep my last name as my middle name, but since we gave Laura my previous middle name, I didn’t mind if she kept it.
Before my husband and I got married, my dad had a little heart-to-heart talk with me.
“You should keep your last name as your middle name,” he said one day, out of the blue. I must have had a blank stare on my face. “Then people will know where you came from.”
I agreed right away. I didn’t question his reasoning because I thought it was a great idea. I didn’t really like the thought of losing my beautiful middle name of Elizabeth that is nine letters long, but I knew I couldn’t fit all those names on my driver’s license, and I doubted all that would fit on a check. Checks are only so big.
When Laura reminded me that she was going to have a new last name, it was five days before the wedding. I had started counting the days when it was no longer possible to count the months. As the day got closer, the amount of time we spent finishing up small details got busier. Being busy like that helped me realize we were working towards a goal, and finishing things up made me feel happier about how everything was moving along. As the day got closer, the less busy I was, and I started to think. When I got that text about how I needed to change the place card, it made what was really happening all sink in a little more, and I realized why Dad wanted to me to keep my last name. He wanted to hold onto that little part of me that was my name and who told the world who I was. I was his daughter.
Up until that time, I thought of the wedding day as being the day I would gain a wonderful son-in-law. For the first time, five days before the wedding, was the day I worried I was losing my daughter, and it was all just because I had to change her name on the place card.
After about three minutes of worrying, I shook myself back to reality. Deep inside a mom knows “that nothing in this world can sever the bond between mother and daughter.” (From Mother of the Bride Article.) After I read that article, I wondered if I should have been freaking out more about how I’m aging and turning into an “elder.” The subject matter in the article is true. I am getting older, but aren’t we all? We’re all moving into new phases of our lives. The best thing to do is go along for the ride and look forward to what will come our way. The ride keeps going no matter what, so it’s best to enjoy it.
Besides, anyone who is going to have a son-in-law who helps with stamping place cards, is one lucky lady! Even though Laura will change her last name, she will always know where she came from!
If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies. ~Author Unknown