Most people get married, take some time to adjust to married life, and then have children. Nick and I aren’t most people, so we cut out the adjustment period and went straight to having a child. We were married in the beginning of 2013 and had Milo by the end of the same year.
The whirlwind of that year didn’t give me much opportunity to consciously adjust to married life. I went from being single to being a wife to being a mom so quickly, I didn’t have time to reflect on the loss of my identity as Melinda Dragonuk.
I didn’t realize how much I missed being Melinda Dragonuk until this past weekend. Saturday was the Steamboat Classic in Peoria, IL. It’s a race that I’ve run several years in a row. I missed last year’s race due to pregnancy related illness, so I was really looking forward to running it this year. Nick was going to be on call at the hospital that morning, so I made plans to have my family watch Milo while I ran. Then later that afternoon we would go to my niece and nephew’s birthday parties.
But days before the race, I began to realize how flawed this plan was. I would have to get Milo up by 5am, drive over to Peoria with him by myself, spend all day out and about with no sufficient place for Milo to nap, and then drive home that evening with what would have to be a mess of a child. I sacrificed the race for the sake of my child. To be honest, it was an easy decision and at the time it didn’t bother me too much.
It was at the birthday party that I really noticed my grief over the loss of my maiden self. Here I was at a Dragonuk family get-together, except it wasn’t really the Dragonuks. It was the Dragonuks, Daghfals, and Jordans. I love my ever growing family, especially all of the new babies, but for the first time I realized I will never be a Dragonuk again.
It’s not just about the name, although I really do miss that. The name Dragonuk is intense, which is also the best way to describe the people. Whenever I gave my last name, people would comment on how cool of a name it was. Never has anyone told me they how cool the last name Jordan is.
But more than that, Melinda Dragonuk was independent. She went where she wanted, when she wanted. Melinda Dragonuk could run any race she wanted to; she never had to sacrifice a race because it would be a long day for someone else. Melinda Dragonuk had no one else to support, so she could spend as much money as she wanted on traveling to places like Seattle, Boston, and New York City.
Melinda Jordan missed the Steamboat Classic because her young son would not be able to handle the long day. Melinda Jordan has not traveled further than Cincinnati since her honeymoon. Melinda Jordan cannot frivolously spend money on whatever her heart desires.
I was driving home from the birthday party reflecting on all this loss. For the first time since I was married and had Milo, I really did not feel like myself. I was Melinda Dragonuk for such a long time, I just missed her and had no idea who this Melinda Jordan person was.
I came to the point of being absolutely overwhelmed with grief when God offered me some grace. I realized Melinda Dragonuk was pretty selfish. Being able to do whatever she wanted, she often did with no regard for others. Melinda Dragonuk would have chosen running over relationship any day. But Melinda Jordan was able to see the bigger picture: there would be other races. Melinda Jordan is better at loving others.
There is a loss when going from a maiden name and identity to being married. For the first time, I was able to experience that loss and see it for what it was. I miss Melinda Dragonuk. But I really do like Melinda Jordan the person. I guess I just need more time to adjust to the name.