GRANDparent Name: No matter what they call you, it’s music to your ears
BY DEBBY CARROLL
Before we became grandparents, we met a family in which the grandkids called the grandmother, “Dick.” Of course, we asked why. When the first grandchild was born, they explained, she tried to say “Grandmother,” but it came out “Dick” and that stuck.
We wondered why they’d let that “stick,” but were too polite to inquire further. Later, my husband said wistfully, “Okay, if we have grandkids I’ll go as far as ‘Schmuck,’ anything worse than that, I’m putting my foot down.”
Some years later my daughter announced joyfully, “Get your Schmuck T-shirt ready Dad, because I’m pregnant.”
Our grandson Avery calls his grandfather, “G.” My husband figured that was easy to say and unlikely to morph into Schmuck. But, Avery’s only four. Who knows what he’ll call “G” later?
What’s your story?
We asked GRANDS to share the story behind their names. Many embraced the respectful and traditional names tied to ethnicities and geography: Nonna in Italian families, Bubbe in Jewish families, Yaya in Greek families, Mimi in Southern families, Abuela among the Latinos and so on. Others felt the traditional names depicted a woman older than they way they saw themselves. They sought a more contemporary name.
Here are just a few of the many “name” stories.
Randy F.: My 4 year-old-grandson calls me Grandy for Grandma and Randy. I’m happy with that. I just don’t see myself as Nanna or Bubby.
Beth B.: My 2-year-old-granddaughter calls me Beeebs. Started out from a nickname I had while working, which was BB. My son and D-I-L picked the name. I didn’t want a grandmotherly name; I wanted something more memorable.
Marsha P.: Mine call me Bubbe. My children chose it. I thought I’d hate I, but the first time I heard that little voice say ‘Bubbe,’ I was hooked. I realized my objections had to do with images of my Bubbe as old school, immigrant, etc., but that’s not what my grandchildren see. They see me as a youthful, energetic woman, so my new motto, also true for all of my friends of this generation who don’t want to be called Bubbe, is that I am: “Not your Bubbe’s Bubbe!”
Eileen S: I thought I’d be Mom Mom like my mother, but she was, happily, still with us when my grandkids were born so I chose Bubbe to differentiate us.
Cyndi H.: I’m an interior designer and wanted a name to suit my personal style. I chose Grandi because it sounds like Cyndi but also incorporated “grand” to celebrate being a grandmother.
Janice B: My grandson first called me ‘me.’ I was always saying, “Do you want me to do it?” So he thought that was my name.
Pretty much all of our readers agree with Dottie L. who said, my first grandchild named me ‘Memom,” and it’s music to my heart.
About the Author
Debby Carroll is Avery’s Grammy and the Director of Strategic Development for GRAND. Upon discovering how outdated the images of grandparents were in the children’s books she read to Avery, she decided to write a new one on behalf of fabulous, real grandparents everywhere. Real Grands: From A to Z, Everything a Grandparent Can Be is available on Amazon here.