Several years ago, as my husband and I eagerly waited for our sixth grandchild to arrive, my son and his wife tried to pick out baby names. My son asked if there were any family names I might suggest. I reminded him that his great grandmother had named her second child Omega, hoping it would be the last". She went on to have five more children," I explained, "so there might not be much to this naming thing."
I know I should have shown more interest in the names suggested, but of far more concern to me was what the baby would eventually call me. While the parents may pick out a baby's name, the baby will often name the grandparents whatever they choose. I am currently known as Nana, Mom-Mom, Manny and Chicken-Nana. I was a little dubious about the name "Chicken-Nana" until I learned that this grandchild referred to the other grandmother as "Dead-Nana." I have since grown fond of the name "Chicken-Nana." My own parents were named Louisi-nana, Tractor Paw-Paw, Papa, and Pa-Two (as opposed to Pa-One.)
When my sister contemplated what she wanted her granddaughter to call her she finally came up with a childhood nickname the family used for her and asked to be called, "Mimi." Her husband said that since kids sometimes rhyme the names of grandmothers and grandfathers, he wanted to make it clear that he was not to be call "Peepee."
So what names would I choose for my grandchildren to call me? I think I would most like the name friend. I pray that I can always live up to that name and be a friend physically, mentally, and spiritually to each grandchild. And I pray that it will be a while yet before I become known as "Dead Nana."
Pictures of my two grandmothers:
Left: "Maimeau" was born Eva Etoile McCann and was known by many simply as "Miss Eva."
Right: "Momo" was born Valley Eva Reed. Here she is with six of her children. (Omega is in the brown plaid pants and my dad is peeking over his mother's shoulder with the red ball cap perched on his head.)
Below: My six grandchildren. That last grandchild is the one and only sweet little girl on the bench. (We might be from Texas, but those are not real guns.)
The Naming of a Grandmother - copyright 2005 by Judy Vandiver