What’s In A Name

Our Wedding_0018

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about handsome and I’s wedding.

This is not because I am just now remembering it.

Although I wonder if some folks even remember it.

I wouldn’t change anything.

However I’m sure you noticed at the wedding we were “pronounced” as the newly married,

Jen and Nate.

We did this very purposely. For multiple reasons. First and foremost, we wanted always remain separate entities. Nate is still Nate and likewise I am still Jen. We love each other as individuals. I love Nate for all the silly things he does.

Such as but not limited to:

Farting accidentally. This could be when he gets up, when he stretches, when he coughs, when he turns, or when he jumps.
The way he giggles when I tickle attack.
His smile
His constant optimism

Likewise I’ve heard through the grapevine that Nate loves the ridiculous things I do.

Such as but not limited to:

Doing daily activities naked because it’s “to stinking hot”
The way I tickle attack
my funny faces

This isn’t a list of why I love Nate or why he loves me. This is a list of individual characteristics or things both of us do. I love him because of that. I love him because he is an individual.

Now don’t get me wrong I love us. I love all the things we do together. I love all the future things we will do together. But I love all the things Nate does on his own. All of his goals and achievements. I love all the things I do, all my future plans and goals and achievements.

We wanted in our wedding a reminder to always remain true to ourselves, to the people we fell in love with.

Also, we had yet to make a firm decision on a last name.

You see I.. uh. I kind of liked my last name.Well at least I had grown accustomed to it. I was sad to let it go. I felt like I was loosing part of my identity.

I had already figured out the quirky way you have to say it in the phone for auto-dial. I had already figured out sayings to help teachers understand the pronunciation. I knew the history behind it and it was my history. I knew the story.

So we threw out all the possibilities and put them on the table.
We could both be Hindes
We could both be Atkinson
We could pick an old name from the past (Hennessy, O’Neil, Sagvold, Kjar)
We could pick any old name (Smith, Jones)
We could combine last names (Hinison, Atkindes)
We could keep our last names

It was a struggle to say the least. We both put sweat and tears into this decision. We listened to each others opinions, concerns, and fears. It was a very hard decision to make. We knocked them out one at a time. We couldn’t just pick any old name it had to have meaning.

Then it got a lot harder. We shared feelings, we shared worries about what family member would think, and we shared feelings.

I felt as though taking another name would mean loosing a large part of who I am. It scared me. It made me want to throw myself into another large identity crisis and I don’t think we had time before the wedding.

So we decided to put it off. We decided to wait until after the wedding.

Well our exact line of thinking was – wait until Thanksgiving that way we tell everyone then and the shock is over my Christmas.

Well the wedding came and went and when we finally got back we started to talk again. This time with a lot less pressure.

At first we thought it would be really great to combine our last names – Hinison is our number one. We thought how great would it be that our children would look at the family tree and realize Hinison came because two people fell in love.

Then we wondered if either of us could give up our names.

I really loved calling Handsome, “Nate Atkinson” when he got in trouble. Or when he did something utterly silly.

Handsome really liked making fun of me every time I gave my name as “Hin- dez”

But will people think we didn’t love each other enough if we didn’t combine our last names, or if we shared a last name in some form? Will we hear any snide remarks about being a crazy feminist? Would anyone understand?

In the end we decided the people we fell in love with were the people we wanted to stay married to. I love Nate Atkinson. and I’m quite sure he loves Jen Hindes.

So we kept our last names.

We still love each other. We are just as married as if we combined our last names. We are just as married as if we shared the last name. We still share a connection. This is what works for us.

Sure we’ve heard some comments here and there. Sometimes it was really hard. Sometimes there was a lot of tears. Sometimes there was a lot of frustration for folks who didn’t understand.

I am so happy in our decision. I rarely think about it now unless we sign up for something at the pet food store or the vet. “Name?”

“Both. Hindes and Atkinson,” I say.

-Tomato Hindes