Grandma Names Revisited

When I last posted about Grandmother names, it seemed like we had quite awhile before the baby would be here.  Well, as you can see from the picture of our expectant kids, son and daughter-in-law are going to be parents before too long here.  And I’m having second thoughts about the name I settled on to be referred to as one half of the “Grandma team.”  Laura’s mom is going to be called “Grandma.”   I had decided to go with “Oma” as a nod to my German and Dutch heritage.  The Commander is going to be “Opa” and my mom will be “Grandma Toots” or more likely “Tootsie.”  But the truth of the matter is that I can’t seem to remember “Oma.”  I keep forgetting it and coming up with “Uma” when I try to remember what I was going to be called.  So I’m taking this as a sign that “Oma” is not for me.

I never really had an “Oma” growing up.  I DID have a Dutch grandmother but we always referred to her as “Grandma.”  She’s the only grandma I ever had and I loved her dearly.  She is the one who taught me how to knit and helped teach me how to play the piano.  I spent every summer with Grandma and learned how to tend a garden under her watchful eye, how to make homemade ice cream, how to mend clothes, how to sew, and how to play the organ….all from her.

When my mom (an only child) was totally overwhelmed with this wiggly, wailing little person that she suddenly had to deal with, my grandma got on the train and traveled from Minnesota to Michigan to come to the rescue.  I won’t swear to it, but I sometimes wonder if my initial survival wasn’t perhaps due to my grandmother’s helping hands.  As you might have guessed, Grandma and I were very close.  So I understand just how much influence a grandmother can have on their grandchild’s life.  And I’m putting a lot of thought into what name I’m going to start out with when my granddaughter begins her journey through life.

You’ll notice that I said “start out with” because I realize that she might very well come up with her own pet name for me and that will be fine.  I’ll be thrilled with whatever name she decides to call me.  I’m just helping her along by giving her a starting point as her parents refer to both sets of grandparents.

As I said, I was rethinking the name I had initially chosen and decided that perhaps a different name was in order.  I still liked “Nana” and “Mimi.”  The name “Nana” referring to a grandmother is a common expression in the northeastern part of the country.  We live in the northeast so this would be right in keeping with local traditions.  It also has that tie-in to the story of Peter Pan, one of my favorite childhood heroes.  Then there’s  “Mimi.”   I have thought how cute it would look in storybooks that I am already planning to write for my granddaughter.  It would go very well with the baby’s nickname and I can already envision titles such as “Mimi and ….. Visit the Zoo”.

But I’m thinking that I’ll go with “Nana.” It’s a two-syllable name, simple for a young child to learn and will work in stories, even though it won’t have the same alliteration.  Now, after all this deliberation who wants to guess what the baby will actually end up calling me?  Well, as Grandma used to say, “As long as you don’t call me late for dinner, I’ll always be there.”


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