I hated the idea of becoming a grandmother when my first grandchild was born three years ago today. Of course I was thrilled that my daughter was becoming a mother, but me? A grandma? I was 51, “too young,” and too prideful to see myself as “old” like that. For me, being a grandmother was like a ticket to my deathbed.
So in my resistance, I decided my grandchildren would not call me Grandma. I spent months trying to decide what they would call me, immediately throwing out all the typical grandmother names:
On and on.
At one point before Luke was born I settled on Granny. My rationale was that on Grandparents’ Day at his school for at least ten years, he’d refer to his Granny and I’d show up looking way younger than his teachers expected!
Anyway, I settled on Nina because it’s cute and it was a shout-out to my paternal grandmother, whose birth name I recalled was: Ethel Bernina Meredith.
Nina stuck. I’ve been called Nina for three years, but that all changed about a month ago when I walked into Luke’s house and he enthusiastically pronounced: “It’s my GRAM mah!!”
I thought I had left my deathbed and gone to heaven! No sweeter words had touched my ears in three years. Luke had been introduced to me as Gramma by the babysitter I was relieving that day. (“Your gramma’s coming soon.”) She gave me such an unexpected gift.
So, yeah. I pretty much spent the next twenty minutes asking him, “Who am I?” And he sweetly obliged over and over: “My gramma.”
From there, I created a video of him calling me Gramma, and calling Joe Grampa. Now, whenever we Facetime or see each other for a visit, “It’s my Gramma!” or “Hi Gramma!” is Luke’s coy refrain. He KNOWS it makes me feel special.
The funniest – and most embarrassing thing – about this evolution of my name is that I recently ran across my grandmother’s birth certificate only to learn her name was actually Ethel BerNITA Meredith. I guess the joke’s on me.
Being a grandmother has truly been a ticket to joy. Thanks Luke for being the first to call me Gramma. And happy birthday.