my college alma mater keeps sending me mail addressed with my maiden name. it's difficult to describe the jarring effect it has on me each and every time i receive a piece of mail addressed to "miss heidi vail." i stand at the dining room table, blink as though to clear my vision and shake my head from side to side.
i have been "ms. heidi wallace" longer than i have been any other name, so seeing this page from my history, actually holding it in my hands, has a weird way of goofing me up. it's not dissimilar to the way i feel when i look at my high school yearbook, emblazoned in gold leaf with "heidi vail" at the bottom of the cover; or peering inside my high school ring where my signature is engraved. that person is part of me, but not me. it's as though i'm looking at an artifact from someone else's existence--someone i know very well, but am distanced from now.
i suppose men (and women who don't change their names when they marry) don't have this experience...they are the name they're born with forever, amen.
actually, the day i married and changed my name helped my 21 year old mind move into the next phase of my life. it helped me underline the person i was becoming, to denote to my family, my friends and the world at large that i was evolving and growing up. it was important to kelly, too, that i take his last name, because for him, i think, it meant that we were building something together, on the same foundation that was all ours. and as our family grew, it was comforting that we all had the same last name.
hear that world? we are the wallaces.