When I got engaged, I put all energies into planning the wedding. Where would it be held? Would it be at night? Would I have a strapless dress? Would I have 10 bridesmaids or just 8? I gave no thought whatsoever to changing my name. It wasn’t until one evening in my boyfriend’s car that I realized I would be losing my identity forever. The meltdown that ensued almost cost me my future marriage and certainly will go down in the books as one of the rudest things I have ever done.
My boyfriend had just returned from his tour in Japan with the Marine Corps. He now worked two jobs, selling vacuums and selling appliances. His began work before 8 and returned some nights after 11. He had saved up enough money to buy me a beautiful engagement ring and I couldn’t have been happier. But the extra hours were for more than that ring. He wanted to have a down payment ready for our first house, a small single home with black shutters and white siding, and he wanted to surprise me with a present on the day before our wedding.
The day before our wedding had finally come and he presented me with a tiny ring sized box. As we were driving to check out the reception site one final time, I carefully opened the box, surprised that I was getting a gift at all. Inside was a diamond centered in the middle of a teardrop pendant which had scroll work carefully engraved all around it. It was stunning! I turned the diamond teardrop over and I read the inscription: Lana Trebe, Forever Yours. Lana Trebe? What? Trebe? My name was Lana Crew. I had been a Crew since the day I was born and I would be a Crew until the day I die. I could not even fathom the idea of taking my boyfriend’s name. It would be the same name as his mom, Mrs. Trebe, and she was insane. No! No! No! I could not do this!
I panicked. I screamed that I was not getting married and threw my engagement ring that he had worked countless hours for and the delicate necklace out the car window. My boyfriend’s car came to a screeching halt and traffic all around us beeped. I looked at his face and saw that I could not have hurt anyone more than I had just hurt him, the one who loved me the most in the world. At that moment, with one single look at his eyes, I knew I was wrong. I knew it didn’t matter what name I had as long as I had him. Just him and me that’s all that mattered. I needed that necklace and ring. I needed to proudly show that I was part of something now. Part of something that just him and I belonged to. Part of something that was just ours.
I flew out of the car and ran down the paved street to where I had thrown them. There they both were. Just glistening in the sunlight. They seemed to be saying, “Here we are. Pick us up! Wear us, you fool!”. And I did. I wore them proudly. Each day and every day after. The rudest moment of my life proved to also be the most life-changing moment of my life. It was a moment that changed how I looked at our marriage.