Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Identity Crisis

For as long as I've known him, JG has always wanted to coach a volleyball team. I missed his glory days of playing, but I've come along on my share of siblings' tournaments. This semester, at the high school where he teaches math, JG is also the head coach of the girls’ volleyball team, and I get to go watch their matches today! I’m really looking forward to it. Whenever JG mentioned coaching a team someday, I was totally on board. I had images of baking cookies, making scarves for the seniors, and schmoozing with the girls’ parents dancing in my head. I was going to be The Supercool Coach’s Wife. JG saw my head drifting into the clouds when we talked about it recently and he quickly pulled me back to earth, saying, “I think I have to tell the girls to call you Mrs. Married Last Name.”

Come again?

His logic is sound and definitely the safe way to go. The girls have to call him Coach Last Name because he teaches at their school, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense for them to use my first name. The parents can call me by my first name, but it’s not appropriate for the players, from his standpoint. Okay, fine. I get that. “But,” I protested, preparing to jump headfirst into the cliché, “…that’s your mother! Or your grandmother!”

Ah, but in the past few months, I’ve finally grown accustomed to signing that name on my credit card receipts. That’s the name I say when I introduce myself to new work contacts. It’s what shows up when people get emails from me. Don’t get me wrong, I was all about having a new name when we got married because mine was annoying in some ways, with mispronunciation at the top of the list. (I was unaware at the time that this new name was equally difficult for strangers to say and twenty times harder for me to spell over the phone.) I guess I was startled by the idea that using my first name wasn’t okay. Even when we worked with our church’s youth group and were summer camp counselors, it was fine to use first names, but I guess we’ve crossed over into Adult World, or something. Being Mrs. Married Last Name just makes me feel older, and not in a sophisticated way. It's kind of like how I nearly fell over when my grocery store cashier called me "ma'am" for the first time.

Oh, well. JG reassured me that he gets called Mr. Initial at school sometimes (due to the mispronunciation issues), so maybe that will catch on. I’ll go to the game today and take tons of pictures, and we’ll see what happens. Ultimately, I know I have to get over it. JG is going to be a teacher and a coach for a long time, and coercing the players into calling me “Mrs. Coach” just isn’t going to happen. Because that is not supercool.

1 comment:

janet said...

I definitely cannot picture myself being called Mrs. (almost) NewLastName. I mean I know we grow up doodling that kind of stuff on our notebooks, but when you say it outloud and add the "Mrs." it all changes!

PS I grew up in a volleyball fanatic family, so I totally know what it's like to sit thru high school vball games!