I’ve got two things on my mind right now, and I’ve wanted to write about both, so I’m just going to go ahead and combine them. Even though they’re almost entirely unrelated.
First, I’ve started the process to change my name. It’s not really a big deal – despite being a stark raving feminist, I’ve always known I’d opt to change my name for the sake of convenience. (Of course, I always thought I’d marry a guy with a nice last name like Smith or Jones and that totally didn’t happen. Thanks a lot, Charming.) But it still feels weird. On one hand, there’s sort of a sense of excitement at the prospect of starting over, of forming a new familial unit with Charming. But on the other, it’s – maybe not letting go of, but hiding? – part of my past and part of what made me who I am.
My uncertainty probably has something to do with my father passing, too. What started out as my original family unit is now down to just my brother bearing the last name. There are other extended family members with the name, but… I don’t know, it’s sort of the end of an era, or something. I still do a double-take when I see my new name on Facebook.
I’ll get over it, I’m sure, and I feel pretty confident that me changing my last name was the right decision for us (I certainly couldn’t hyphenate two long, ridiculously-hard-to-spell last names – can you imagine how much any hypothetical future children would hate me?) but there’s just this last little edge of lingering sadness attached to it.
The other thing on my mind has even more to do with my dad. The Ravens. Our first preseason game is tonight, and I feel like I’m almost afraid to watch. Not because our defense has been completely gutted and pasted back together with rookies, but because I don’t know how it’s going to feel. Can I enjoy watching the Ravens knowing I’ll never share that with my dad again? If I do enjoy watching still, will I feel guilty for that?
I grew up listening to him talk about the old Baltimore Colts and tell stories about sneaking 12 people into Memorial Stadium with 6 tickets and a fake press badge. When the Baltimore Stallions CFL team came to town, he used to pull me out of Hebrew School classes on Sundays so there’d be enough time to paint my face before we went to the game. When we won that first Super Bowl in 2000 – that might have been the first civil conversation we had with each other after my parents’ divorce.
So much of my passion for the Ravens is interwoven with memories of my dad. Moving the motley crew of 6-8 Ravens fans to The Tavern in Austin to start our local nest, and watching that nest grow to 50-80+ diehard fans. Watching the Ravens destroy the Patriots on my dad’s birthday en route to their Super Bowl victory. Learning the true art of hating the Pissburgh Squeelers. Quoting Ray Lewis at his funeral.
I’m grieving, still, and find myself terribly off-balance in a world that seems to have kept rotating without me. Maybe it will pass, maybe it will never truly pass, but I guess I’ll find out tonight if I’m still able to find joy in large men in tight pants.