Saturday, October 22, 2011

Not Mrs. Kyle Hendricks

I'm torn. First of all, I want to express my gratitude for the extremely nice card I received in the mail from a friend. It was so kind of her to think of me and Kyle, and then to follow up that thoughtfulness with action was incredibly nice. I loved the card. Loved it. However, when I first saw the envelope, I sighed. It was addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Kyle Hendricks. I know it is a customary way to address married couples. I know it is technically correct and appropriate. I know some people are perfectly fine being addressed that way. But it is not my name. In fact, when asked to select a title, I choose to go by Ms. instead of Mrs. I like the fact that Ms. does not connotate married status, the same way Mr. works for men. (I should say that I don't get upset when I see things addressed to Mrs. Hendricks; I'm OK with it. I just prefer Ms. when possible.) Just because I am married and chose to change my last name to Hendricks does not mean I lost my identity as Ruth. It frustrates me that Mr. & Mrs. Kyle Hendricks implies that. Any reference to my name totally disappears and I am just left to be the misses.

I'm not sure whether I should say something to her or not. I probably won't. I'm quite sure she does not read my blog, so I'm not worried about her stumbling across this entry. The last thing I want to do is to focus on the name thing and have that overshadow my gratitude for the kind gesture she made in sending the card. I supposed a little of my surprise that she addressed it that way is coming from the place that I know she really struggled with changing her name when she got married and seriously considered keeping her name, because of how she didn't want to lose that part of her identity. I also remember having this conversation with her before, about how I dislike the Mr. & Mrs. His Name concept and how that made it difficult for me to address our wedding invitations because I wanted to take that into consideration in case others felt similarly. During the conversation she said something to the effect of, "Oh, sorry, I think I may have addressed your invitation to our wedding that way." (She had.) I replied, "That's OK. You wouldn't have had any way of knowing that was my preference before you sent it. It's hard because there isn't really an easy way of letting people know what name you do or don't want to go by and I also wonder if I've done something similar to others before. But I'm glad you know now. What is your preference?" So, maybe I'm a bit more annoyed by seeing the name written that way since we had already discussed it. But the truth is, I cannot control other people's actions and it would be unwise for me to think I can. I remain thankful for the sweet card and I am grateful for our friendship.

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