A grandma by any other name…

We are at that stage in life when our friends are beginning to become grandparents. It’s not a flood yet, but the trickle has begun.

This past weekend, our friend and neighbor, Lou Ellen’s, son and his wife had a baby and so raised Lou Ellen to the ranks of grand-motherhood.

One of the more amusing aspects of all this is the incredible amount of thought and discussion that many women put into their most serious issue. “What will the child call me?”

Apparently this is a big deal with new grandmothers and grandmothers to-be.

When Lou Ellen called on Saturday to break the news of the blessed event, she told me that they had all decided that her “grandmother name” would be “Me-me.” When I repeated the name with a questioning tone of voice, she said.

“But we will spell it ‘Mimi.’”

She did not indicate how they would convey the proper spelling to the newborn.

This has become something of a family joke between Mrs. Poolman and me. It started more than ten years ago when her younger sister was discussing her active negotiations with the other grandmother over what her soon-to-be-born granddaughter would call them. They settled on “Grandma” for my sister-in-law and “Mimi” for the other grandparent. (“Mimi must be the equivalent of Sarah, Madison or Emma for the grandmother generation.) During the course of the conversation, I suggested, “What about ‘Big Mama.’”

My sister-in-law took it with good humor. On the other hand, Mrs. Poolman had fire in her eyes. She could see where that was going, and threatened me with severe bodily harm “…if any grandchild of mine ever calls me ‘Big Mama.’”

If this blog ever ends with a final post about my future grandchildren learning to talk, you’ll know what happened.

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4 responses to “A grandma by any other name…

  1. ilovemacaroniart

    Lol! I have to say Mimi is pretty popular…my mother’s mother is Memaw to her 12 grandchildren….though I must say I love Big Momma!

  2. Grandparenting is such an awesome privilege and responsibility. I just wrote a book for grandparents: Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting: For Grandparents at Any Stage of the Journey. You can learn more about it here: http://www.preparingmyheart.net. On my blog there we are discussing the names we are called as grandparents. I’m known as Grandma Tea.
    Stop by and say hi!

    Happy Grandparenting,
    Lydia E. Harris (aka Grandma Tea)

  3. What do you mean that women have to decide what they want to be called? Is there something wrong with simply “Grandma?” When I was growing up, both grandmas were “Grandma.” When we weren’t in their presence, we differentiated them as Grandma S. and Grandma T. In their presence, they were each just Grandma.

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