Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What's in a name

When my daughter was pregnant with her first child, we had a discussion over what my new name should be to her little one. 

Grandmother, Grandma, Granny, Nanny, Nana, Mawmaw, Memaw, Opa, Yiayia -- these are all names that I've heard used for the position I was to take.  My preference was "Grandma."  When I hear the word "Grandma," I think of love, tenderness, and good feelings.  In effect, I think of my grandmother who I called "Grandma."  That is what I wanted to be called. daughter had other plans.  She wanted me to be called Yiayia.  Having been to Greece, I conjure up visions of a yiayia as an older woman, slightly hunched over, dressed in black or dark clothing and wearing a scarf over her head. That is not my idea of me.   By the way, that was also my other grandma -- the one from Greece.

The reason she wanted me to be a "yiayia" was that "grandma" was already taken.  Huh??   Her mother-in-law was to be called "grandma" and she gets it because she was already had that name to my new grandchild to be's cousins.

Why can't we both be "Grandma?"    Growing up, I had my Grandma and my Grandma Mary (also known as Yiayia).     The problem with this solution was that both other Grandma and I have the same name.  So unless we differentiated by last names, we would still be called by the same name.   I did not want to be known as Grandma Smith and Grandma Jones  ( I slipped in other surnames there, but you get the drift.) 

 I still didn't see the problem with us both being called grandma.  Kids are pretty smart, and they will figure it out.  But my daughter didn't want the confusion for her child.   However, she compromised with me. I could be called "Grandma Yiayia."     Ugh.  Not really what I what, but that is what we decided. 

Almost four years and an additional grandchild later , I am technically Grandma Yiayia, but I call myself "Grandma" and more importantly so does my grandson.  Without getting mixed up, he calls both his grandmothers "Grandma."

Or so I thought.  I discovered the other day that my name when I am not around is "Grandma Kitty."  Out of the mouths of babes.   We were out to lunch at a restaurant and both grandmothers were there.  His mother asked him a question and he asked, "Grandma Kitty or Grandma Gidgett?"

I have a cat named Kitty, and the other grandma has a dog named Gidgett.  That is how he differentiates us.   Grandma Kitty and Grandma Gidgett.  I was worked up over the English or the Greek name and the connotations, then last names added to the name.  But what is in a name?  It ends up that I am known by my cat! 

What do you call your grandparent? 

What do you want to be called when you are a grandparent?  


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