A brand new Schlothan.
April 15, 2009

I waited nearly a year after our wedding before I tacked “Christensen” to the end of my name.  It was an inordinately difficult decision to make.  I mean, you love a guy, right?  But does love mean that you should give up EVERYTHING, who you are, who you have always been?

Is a rose by any other name REALLY still a rose?

Schlothan was the perfect maiden name for me.  I love that name.  I love the sound of it unfolding from my lips.  I love squishing it onto nametags and leaning forward to correct some moron’s mispronunciation.  I love the look of Schlothan in cursive, with loops and curls and dips.

I love knowing that my parents gave me this name and whispered it over my cradle and happily shared it with me.  I love that I share this identity with my siblings, that this is who we became TOGETHER.  I love knowing that I will see every single Schlothan at Thanksgiving.  Every.  Single.  One.  I love that this is my father’s name, the name of his father and his father before him.

Donald had a hard sell convincing me to accept the name Christensen; I have never envied him this.  I am, admittedly, a difficult woman to live with and the most furious argument we have ever fought involved my name.  SCHLOTHAN, I fumed at him, is what I am and SCHLOTHAN is what my children will be.  You should be so lucky, I spat.  SCHLOTHAN, I raged, is what brought me into this world and is my link to my family.  SCHLOTHAN, I seethed, is the name of the man who is more a father to you than your own, the man who has pride in you and respect for you in ways your father cannot dream of.  SCHLOTHAN is the name of my memories, I cried.  The name of all I ever have been.

SCHLOTHAN, I screamed, is the name of MY FATHER, a man who is a greater man than your father could ever hope to be.

And so it was.  But CHRISTENSEN, he argued, was his connection to his brothers, his connection to his childhood, and this was no more or less viable than my connection to my family.  CHRISTENSEN, he whispered, was a name he wanted and he NEEDED to redefine.  For himself.  For his siblings.  For his children.

Just the other day, Donald received paperwork in the mail.  Schlothan is his new middle name, the name that cleaves him unto my family, the name that sits a space before Christensen on the driver’s license.  The name he chose for me.  The name he chose for our children.

We have both been Christensens for awhile now.  But somehow, what matters so much to me, what makes me love this man a little more, selfish though this may be, is that now we are also both Schlothans.


© 2009 Helios Media, Inc.  Please click here to see this image on Flickr.

And happy ones, at that.


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  1. By kbreints on April 15, 2009

    WOW! What a man to do that for you! You have a keeper for sure! :)

  2. By Stesha on April 15, 2009

    You better hold on tight and never let go.

    Hugs and Mocha,
    Stesha

  3. By Stephanie on April 15, 2009

    This is such a beautiful story. I love the way you write! The screaming, whispering…it’s quite cinematic.

    I was more than happy to drop my maiden name, for a whole host of reasons, but I love the way you guys did it.

  4. By Tabitha (From Single to Married) on April 15, 2009

    Oh, I totally know what you mean!!  It took me a while to change my name too and I wasn’t sure I was even going to.  I mean I was 36 when I got married which is a long time to live with a maiden name.  It went back and forth for months trying to figure it out.  I love my maiden last name.  It’s German and it’s cool sounding, even if it’s long.  But I finally realized decided to change when I realized I didn’t want to make it confusing for everyone or for our children and when I finally realized I wouldn’t be losing my identity (which was a big concern at first).  I still miss my old name because my new one is, for some reason, difficult for people to grasp when I say it, but it’s okay because it’s part of my husband.  And besides, I kept my old name and just taked the new one on the end.

  5. By Tabitha (From Single to Married) on April 15, 2009

    ps - I really need to proofread before submitting comments.  If you need me to translate my previous comment (due to the rambling and terrible grammar) just let me know. :)

  6. By Allison on April 15, 2009

    Aw! I’m all choked up now.

    That is unbelievably sweet.

  7. By lceel on April 15, 2009

    Names are SO important - to an individual - and to a family.  Our eldest son is named after me - that speaks to a long standing tradition in my Father’s family.  Our second son’s middle name is my mothers maiden name - Pierce.  And our third (and last) son’s middle name is Carroll - SWMBO’s mother’s maiden name.

    SWMBO = She Who Must Be Obeyed (just in case you hadn’t seen that yet)

  8. By Dianna on April 15, 2009

    I kind of feel the same way.  Andrew has asked me if I’m going to take his name when we get married, and although I want to I kind of don’t want to lose the name that has been with me for 23, by then 25, years.  I know I will take it because we want to be a family, but it’s just going to be so strange to sort of start over. 

    I am very impressed with Donald though.  That was a big thing for him to do.

  9. By on April 15, 2009

    Hahaha!  Congrats to Donald!

  10. By erin on April 15, 2009

    That is SO AWESOME of Donald to do that for you!  And for your kids.

    I was not particularly attached to my maiden name, but it was still hard to see it go.  It felt in a way like part of my life was over.  But, I wouldn’t trade Brian or his name for anything.

  11. By Jes the Bes on April 15, 2009

    I COMPLETELY understand where you are coming from. Donald’s story could be Mitchell’s. However, his middle name is already taken up by the name of his grandfather. His only male blood relative that he knew and looked up too.

    I do miss my maiden name and at time wish I would have kept it.  I can be a little too attached to my family, who baby me to no end and give me everything I want. So I changed my last name to show solidarity to the life that Mitchell and I were forming together and for that relationship that was just about us.

    Loved the story and Congrats to Donald.

  12. By Meg on April 15, 2009

    I never really put much significance to my last name which is probably why I have no problem taking my soon to be husbands last name. Its always interesting to read about how people hatch those things out.

    So will your baby take Christensen as their last name?

  13. By Kimberly on April 15, 2009

    Love this story. LOVE IT.

    When I got married, I was happy to part with my last name because I felt no connection to it or the lousy father that gave it to me. As life turns out, my husband felt the same way about his. We decided to make the name mean something good starting with this generation. And we’re proud of that.

  14. By Alison (cluckandtweet) on April 15, 2009

    I changed my name when I married, but I had a bit of an identity crisis.  I had been “Ruegg” (a name that was impossible to pronounce and spell, apparently) for 28 years and now I was a DeCamp (which I love to write out with its capital letter in the middle of the name), but that had been my name.  Now I feel like Alison DeCamp.  15 years later.  It didn’t take that long, thank goodness.

  15. By Elizabeth on April 15, 2009

    Cool.  Very cool.  J and I had that discussion. I decided my name sounded better with his last than his first with mine.  In compromise… our son has my maiden name as his first name.

  16. By Napmom on April 16, 2009

    What an awesome compromise.  I might suggest it… 6 years post-wedding.  I wanted to keep my maiden name.  It actually did not occur to me to change it, oddly enough.  Then, we had a huge fight the night of our rehearsal dinner.  I now have his name.  I love him dearly… but does not feel like MY name.  I wuold never tell him though.

  17. By Spruce Hill on April 16, 2009

    That is so sweet! :)

  18. By on September 23, 2009

    My Dear My Dear…you are so young, your values are anything but justified, you will soon find out when you are older what you have done to this Poor Man you claim you love, I am sorry you have raped your husband of his dignity and Pride and turned him into a spineless ( having no backbone) sellout, You need not impose your values on him but scrutinize (to look at very carefully at) your self.This is a man do your homework my child sorry for your ignorance

  19. By Sarah A. Schlothan Christensen on September 23, 2009

    Ruth - You are, of course, entitled to your opinion, but I respectfully disagree.

    First of all, never again call my husband spineless or a sellout.  Call me any name you like, any foul thing under the sun, and I will consider it fair game as I am the one who writes here, but under no circumstances is it appropriate for you to name-call my family or to call into question the choices that they have made - with or without me.  Also, never again speak to the state of my husband’s dignity or pride.  Again, you are free to run the gamet on your accusations about me, but you are not entitled to do the same with my family.

    Second of all, I do not feel that I have raped my husband or that my values are unjustified or that this was a rash and ignorant decision.  There was over a year of discussion before my husband made his choice - and as it was his name, I made it very clear that it was HIS CHOICE what he did with it.  He is the one who first brought up including Schlothan as a middle name, not me.  He knew that if he decided to go through with it or not, I would always respect his choice and I would never love him any differently for it.

    Third, my name is MY NAME, not my husband’s.  Thousands of women opt to maintain their maiden name or to use both names as I do.  People make that choice for many reasons and you will never know all of mine.  If I decide to drop my maiden name entirely one day, then so I will, but it will be as personal a choice as it was for me to keep it in the first place.  My husband did not care what I did with my name, he let me choose, and I made sure that I gave it plenty of thought before opting for both.

    Last, but not least, please never question my marriage again.  I find it remarkably offensive.

  20. By on November 24, 2009

    I cannot believe the gaul of some folks out there. I too have kept my maiden name. My husband has never cared about it even though his mother gave me quite the earful. I now have a 9 month old son who has both our names. Maybe one day I will change mine but like many others I am not ready to yet give up my identity that I have known for so many years.


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