I knew the first time that I met Walter that I wanted to be his wife. It might sound cliché, but I truly just had a feeling that rooted in my gut on our first date that this was how it was always meant to be. That everything I had done in my life had led me to him. I always wanted to be married to him. I just never wanted to be Mrs. H.
I think that taking the last name of your husband should be a personal decision. I completely understand why people decide to do it, and I respect it completely. It just never felt right to me. I was the only person with a “Q” name in every school I had ever gone to. My name feels comfortable and unique and fits me: Alexandra Quandt.
The name Quandt is so deeply a part of my identity. It represents the struggles of my grandfather and the people that came before him. It represents my dad working with his hands to provide for his family. It makes me stand out when I say things like “Quandt - with a ‘Q’!” Even the way that I sign my name seems to flow out of my fingertips. It’s so profoundly ME.
My marriage to Walter is the biggest part of my life; it has changed me for the better in ways that I could have never anticipated. It’s just not the only part of my life. It is not the defining part of my identity. Walter is my family. His family is my family. We don’t have to share a name for me to feel more connected. I love that Walter has never once questioned this, or made me feel awkward about not sharing his name. It’s like he never even had the though that it’s strange. I am my own person, and this was my choice. That just made sense to him.
I realize that most people don’t put that much stock into their name, but it’s a feeling that I have always had. Maybe that is because it is so distinctive. It’s just who I am. I don’t know what we will do when we have children. Maybe it will be easier for schools and government paperwork if we share a name. Maybe our children will want for me to have the same name as them so that they feel tied together as a family unit. We will cross all of those bridges as we encounter them. All that I know is that for now, I am a Quandt. I have a big wooden ‘Q’ in our bookcase, because my name is a point of pride for me. I am a self-made person, and Walter and I are separate people who are choosing to be family. That is a magical thing to find in this world. Everything else is just details.