My sister got married on June 27th. Last week, my Facebook feed informed me that she had changed her name from Sarah Bowers to Sarah Ellsworth. There had been some teary-eyed moments preceding Sarah’s wedding, not to mention during the ceremony (apparently, you could hear me sniffling all the way at the back of the church) and afterwards at the celebration (aided, perhaps, by the consumption of, um, a few glasses of Pol Roger Champagne). But somehow – even though I was the maid-of-honor and had witnessed my sister and Mark exchange vows in a ceremony officiated by our cousin – the FB notice of my sister’s name change caused me to tear up once more.
In my phone, Sarah is listed as Baby Bow – the nickname she was given by the group of friends we made our first year in North Creek. I sent Sarah a text telling her it would be strange to start receiving calls and texts from “Sarah Ellsworth” and not “Baby Bow.” And she responded in the way we as a culture do these days: #babybowforlife.
So I get to keep Baby Bow in my phone.
And I get to keep Sarah Ellsworth as my sister. The same person I’ve known for nearly thirty years. My brother-in-law is wonderful – a sweet-souled, family-orientated and hard-working man who also has the same favorite cocktail as me (Manhattan) so I know I’ll have a happy hour buddy for years to come. Oh, and he adores my sister. So it’s beautiful that they are sharing the same surname. But. It’s a little strange to think of my little sister as a married woman with a new last name. My brother, in a rare moment of reflection, agreed eloquently, “Yeah, it’s pretty f*@%ing weird.”
Life moves forward – sometimes at the speed of light (especially when you’re looking back) and sometimes in cautious little tip-toes. But, to quote “The Circle Game” by Joni Mitchell, “And the seasons they go round and round . . . We’re captive on the carousel of time/We can’t return we can only look/Behind from where we came.” Sarah and Mark getting married, and Sarah changing her last name, are all a part of that game. And even though it’s bittersweet to look back, it’s more exciting to look forward to what is to come . . . such as nieces and nephews.
But I will not be called Aunty Anna. Name change isn’t for me. I think plain old Anna will do just fine.
FYI: In the photo, the wedding cake topper of the Navy groom and bride was on my maternal grandparents’ cake at their wedding 71 years ago. To paraphrase my brother, “Yeah, it’s pretty f*@%ing cool.”