A Grandma by Any Other Name …

Thursday, March 6, 2014

It’s like this running joke. A cliché gag we’ve seen played out typically on sitcoms: the mom who is so unprepared, so unwilling to be thought of as “old,” that she refuses to be called Grandma. Someone, either her adult children or  grand babies (or hell, she’ll do it herself ), comes up with an alternate — a kinder, gentler name to call this woman.

Now, she’s not trying to deny these young’uns. Of course she loves the kids. That’s a given. What she doesn’t love is being called Grandma.

So the nontraditional nickname creation begins …

Lucille Bluth | Ms. Mary Mack

Gangy.

Gigi

Gabby.

Momo.

Tootsie.

Jammie

Their actual first names. (whuuuttt?)

Woof. (*long stare*)

For my parents, this wasn’t their first time at the grandparents rodeo. My nieces christened them “Grandma” and “Granddad” decades ago, and my folks continue to wear those names quite proudly.

On my in-laws’ side, The Youngster is their first grandchild, and they were also raring to go. Grand Land, here we come! Actually, just before our son was born, my husband and I tried to go “cute” with my mother-in-law’s name. How about GranJan? (Her name is Janet.) Quickly, we collectively rolled our eyes at that one. And, yes, I tried to blame that silliness on pregnancy brain.

No-no-no. The MIL happily wanted to be known as Grandma. My father-in-law was given Grandpa — a little distinction that my son doesn’t let you slip up on. Make the error of saying Grandpa when you really mean Granddad, and he will correct you.

It still makes all four parents giggle to hear the G-word from these kids. And to be honest, it kind of tickles me too. I only knew one grandparent: my maternal grandmother. Sadly, the others passed long before I came on the scene. I called her Ma — because everyone else did — but sometimes went for Gran or Gran-Gran. She was lovely and answered to all of it.

Curious, what do your kids call your parents? Is it a nickname you created? Is it a flubbed name (because of toddler lisp cuteness) that just stuck? Or is it a traditional cultural name like Bibi? Leave a comment below. As always, I’m interested to hear your take.

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