by Kerry Cue
“The reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is that they have a common enemy.”
……………………… Sam Levenson, American Humourist, 1911-1980
Baby Boomers Find the ‘Grandma’ Tag Doesn’t Fit
Baby Boomers, apparently, are terrified of being labelled ‘old’. We’re in denial and we refuse to be called grandma. Susan Sarandon (b. 1946), for instance, wants to be called ‘Honey’.
This is not a straightforward issue. Firstly, today a kid can have 4 grandmas, 2 biological grannies and 2 step-grandmamas. Who gets the naming rights? Often, it is first in, first served. So the first-time-grandma may be competing with an established grandma-of-3. To avoid the granny wars, she has to find another name.
If both grandmothers opt for the same ‘nanna’ tag, the kid will soon sort you out. I know a little tyke who called his nannas ‘Chippie Nanna’ and ‘Chocie Nanna’. Obviously, they specialised in crisps and chocolate.
Secondly, women of my generation have fought to be recognised as individuals. Otherwise, our entire identity is dished out as stereotypes: girlfriend, fiancee, wife, mother, grandmother…. Are we expected to revert to a generic brand name in our senior years?
Some will be happy with this option but some won’t. I’m one and I’m not even a grandmother. Our grandmothers, much like my grandma and nanna, were stern, hat-wearing, church-going matrons (see left), who often tut-tutted at, well, every fun thing that happened at family gatherings. I don’t care about being a grandmother, but the name would feel like a millstone around my aging-neck.
What are the options?
Nan: My friend Nan says she’s just growing into her own name!!
Mimi: Kim, called Kimmie by the family, said ‘Let the child decide’. He started calling her ‘Mimi’. She loves it.
Lola: Surprisingly, ‘lola’ is grandma in Filipino (Tagalog). ‘Lolo’ is grandpa. My nephew married the gorgeous, Regina, who is Filipino. His mum gets called ‘Lola Liz’. Now that sounds like a grandma, who is having a damn good time!
Any other suggestions?
The 1950’s photograph came from an unattributed source. More information is welcome.
I’m about to become a grandma, and my mum is known as granny, so that name’s taken, and I’m not interested in being grandma or nanna. A friend has always called me Zoo, and a couple of unconnected (to her) children have also called me Zoo.
When a friend’s child called me ‘Zoo” and my husband, Paul – ” Paw” we felt we have our grandparent names!
the sibyls says
HEY SUE, I can see how Sue morphs into Zoo … and it is such a fun name. Now I’m tempted to call Paw .. paw paw. Ha! Sibyl Kerry