When the grand-girl arrived I was asked what I wanted to be called. My response was “Grandma.” To tell you the truth I don’t actually know any grandmas named ‘Grandma’. So I thought it would be unique. You know what I mean?
I also like “Gamma” as in the MOST powerful ray in the universe. I like the idea of being a powerful force for grandmotherly good. Roight.
My mother is ‘MeeMaw’. The children’s other grandmother is ‘NaNa’. I’ve heard a lot of cutesy grandmother names lately like ‘BeeBee’ or ‘Sugar’ or ‘Sweetie’. I have a friend whose grandkids call her “Ninena” (I spelled it phonetically, I’m sure it is spelled ‘Nina’). My daughter suggested “Banana”. I rejected that right away. Not only is it cutesy but I don’t want to be confused with a fruit.
My beloved grandmother’s name was “Nannie”. There can be no one else like her. My other grandmother’s name was “Grandmother”. We didn’t know her very well. I think sometimes names say it all. “Grandmother” is a bit stand-offish.
It has been a family tradition that the first grand baby names the grandparent.
To the grand-girl I suggested “Grandma”, “Grammy”, or “Grams” to no effect. At twenty months old, the grand-girl was thinking. She can recite her A,B,C’s. She can spell her name. She can count to ten.
I remained nameless.
To be honest this child never ever had to call me anything. I would do anything she indicated with a flick of her tiny wrist.
Then about two weeks ago I heard her practicing something that sounded like “Grandma” only it came out as “NHN-ma” – the first syllable pronounced somewhere inside the upper sinus cavity. (If a kid can do it so can you.) She would spend time by herself in another room saying this over and over. Precious.
Then this past weekend I heard her call me “NeeNaw”. I said, “So I’m NeeNaw?” She said, “Tee-Taw”. I said, “So I’m ‘Tee-Taw’?” She smiled.
So Tee Taw I am. And I’m thrilled to be so named.