It doesn’t appear that I will be a grandmother anytime soon (or a mother-in-law for that matter) but half of my children are daughters, so that means that the topic of future grandchildren does come up from time to time. While the other half of my children mysteriously vaporize when my next matriarchal stage is discussed, my daughters happily share with me their visions of this joyous time. When the topic came up yesterday the girls debated what future grandbabies would call me. My youngest proposed Momofmymom. This moniker has really grown on me. It rolls off the tongue in a lilting, clickety-clack kind of way that perhaps represents our musical heritage. Or maybe too many readings of The Little Engine That Could. Still, part of me is envious of my Greek friends whose children call their grandmothers Yiayia. Now that’s a cool name for a grandmother. At times in my life coolness has been a priority.
Unfortunately, my sister and I were not on the same timetable when it came to cool grandmother names for our mother. Being the oldest, it was her privilege to determine what the grandchildren in our family would call our mother. Though I love my sister dearly, her choice was not what would have been mine. I’ve never told her this (until now), but she couldn’t have picked a worse time in my life to decide to call our mother “Granny.”
I am 13 years younger than my sister. I was ten when I first became an aunt. That was fun; I loved babies even then. However, having lost our father a couple of years before, I was also adjusting to a new life with a new stepfather in a new small town where all my friends’ mothers seemed barely older than my own sister. It was almost cool to be an aunt, but having a mother who was a grandmother was questionable. I swear I would have died from embarrassment had any of my friends heard that my mother also went by “Granny.” This was, in fact, the only reason I was thankful my precious little niece lived 480 miles away. At least I didn’t have to risk being seen in public with her and her “Granny.”
At the time, I only knew of two Grannies: the tottering, bun-headed one from the Sylvester and Tweety cartoon and the dear little old lady who had been my sister’s own babysitter. I get now that my sister was honoring the memory of this woman by calling our mom Granny, but my memories of Granny Bessie extended only to remembering that she had a really nifty broom closet and that she was old enough to be dead! My mother (whom I had also recently begun calling “Mom” instead of “Mama” due to peer pressure) in no way represented a Granny. Never mind that she always looked younger than her years, she had no bun, puttered but never tottered, had no broom closet, and most importantly – was still alive!
I guess in the end, the only thing that really matters is that all my mother’s grandchildren love their Granny. I hope it will be the same for me. According to my daughters, I will be hearing a lot of whatever name is decided for me. They all want large families, but I have to say that I question their motives since one proclaimed “if only to prove that not all large families have snotty-nosed kids.” Guess this means I don’t need to fear being called Granny Hankie.