Wow, I haven’t blogged in forever.
And, honestly, my only excuse (besides working full-time, planning a wedding, and going to school) has been that I know what I want to talk about but I’m uncomfortable reflecting on the topic.
You see, for the past 22 years, 8 months, 20 days, and some odd hours, I have been Brook Nicole Rakow.
The only Brook Nicole Rakow. (Seriously. Google me.)
I know this girl.
I like this girl.
And, in 12 days, I will no longer be this girl.
When Danny and I first got engaged, I typed “Brook Vasquez” into Facebook (because I’m that kind of person.) And you know how many I found?
SEVEN. Seven Brook Vasquez’s.
And I don’t mean to be dramatic, but how boring does that make me?? No longer a one-of-a-kind but now a one-in-eight. No longer unique, just one in the crowd. No longer the me I’ve always known.
I’m not ready to say goodbye to Brook Rakow. I feel like I’ve spent 22 years just scratching the surface of who she is — I feel like I was just beginning to truly know her. And in 12 days she’ll be just a memory.
And that scares me.
Because now I have to start getting to know someone new living in this same body.
I have to force my hand to memorize a new signature.
I have to retrain my brain to respond to a new title.
I have to change everything from my Driver’s License to my email address.
I have to figure out what to do with a blog that bears my maiden name…
And I have to come to terms with the fact that I am separating from my family.
Matthew 19:5 says, “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” If they had asked for my interpretation of this verse back in the day, I’d tell you it sure sounds like the man should be taking the wife’s last name… (my younger siblings would agree considering my 8-year-old brother was sure “it’s going to be Danny Rakow now!” when we first got engaged.)
Yet, for some reason, someone, somewhere, decided the woman would do the leaving and cleaving.
And that’s hard for me.
Not because I’m a feminist, liberal, or hate this “symbol” of male power….
No, it’s a lot simpler than that.
It’s hard for me because I love my family.
Plain and simple.
You see, I’m the only person in a family of 10 who has ever lived more than 15 minutes from the house we grew up in. I’m the only one who left the area for college and who doesn’t currently live within five miles of my parents’ home. I’m the one who spent a month in another country on more than one occasion. I’m the one who doesn’t work for my parents’ business.
I’m the one who already feels so much more distanced from my family than everyone else.
So, to change my last name?
That’s like severing the last strand tying me into the family.
And, yes, I know that sounds horribly dramatic. I know that I only live 30 minutes from home, and Danny and I can visit at any time. I know I will still sit in the same pew as my family at church every week. I know I can pick up the phone and call my parents whenever I want or need.
But it feels different. It feels sad.
Most girls dream of the day when they will take another man’s name, and, admittedly, I had those fantasies growing up (okay, fine, I filled an entire page in my notebook during class last week practicing my new signature…)
But, as excited as I am to begin this journey with my new husband, I hate change and have a hard time accepting it.
Becoming Brook Vasquez won’t necessarily change the main character in my story, but it will be the beginning of a new book in the series of my life.
And closing this current book is bittersweet.
I feel like I’ve skimmed the last 10 months worth of pages since Danny proposed. I feel like I haven’t taken the time to truly appreciate our engagement — to truly appreciate who Brook Rakow was on her own.
Because, in just 12 days, Brook Rakow will not only become Brook Vasquez, she will become a wife.
And I want to represent the Vasquez team with honor, respect, and dignity. I want my husband to believe he picked a teammate who carries his name with grace, and I intend to bear the Vasquez name with pride.
But, like I said, it scares me a little.
Because I know exactly how to be a Rakow: be kind, work hard, and run at least 5 minutes late to everything.
But I don’t know how to be a Vasquez. And I don’t know how to be a wife.
I don’t like letting go of the past, but I’m excited for the future. And I know that, whatever comes my way, Danny and I will face it as a team, as we live out our vows for all of our tomorrows.
And — no matter what my Driver’s License, email address, or social security card may say — a piece of my heart will always be a Rakow.
br/ (almost bv)