I have several friends entering the realm of grandparenthood.
I’d like to say they are all so much older than me. I’d like to say that, but it’s not necessarily so. Some are, some are not. It’s been fun to watch the joy erupt in their lives, however. It makes me look forward to when my own kids sprout kids of their own…. (Some time in another ten years or so.) I’m way too young to be a grandmother any time soon.
And yet I do think about it.
I have four kids of my own. Even if all my kids have only two kids apiece I’ll have quite a gaggle of grands one day. The thought of even more makes me laugh. I understand why my friends are so silly happy.
I am learning that what kids call their grandparents is almost as important as what the kids themselves are named. I think of my own grandparents. I called my mom’s parents “Granny” and “Pawpaw”. My dad’s parents were “Grandmother” and “Grandaddy”. The two pairs were as different as they could be from one another, but I loved them so much.
I can remember when my parents became grandparents. My niece had the privilege of naming my parents, as she was the first grandchild on that side of the family. My mom was “Granma”, and my dad was “Pop”. His name was easy; it’s what my brother had started calling my dad some time earlier, and it was a bonus that it was super easy for my niece to say. Early on, “Granma” came out of my niece’s mouth as “Momma”. I told my dad we could teach her to say “Big” in front of it, and all have a great laugh. He said he liked sleeping inside too much for that.
My mother-in-law so respected her mother (known as Nana to my husband and his siblings) that she chose “Nina” for herself, and so it was settled. My father-in-law was supposed to be Pauly, (his name is Paul) but when my nephew, the first grandchild on that side learned to speak, it came out “Poppy”. Okay. A little confusing for my kids, but what could we do? Poppy it was. And after seventeen years, the names all just fit.
Secretly, I’ve tried on grandmother names already.
I’ve settled on one that I love. It’s not fancy or pretentious. It’s not hard to say and I can just hear it rolling off the tongues of my little precious ones…. Someday in the very distant future. I’ve decided I want my grandkids to call me “Meemaw”.
Yep. That’s right. I mean, say it….. Doesn’t it just roll off your lips, and evoke feelings of love and hugs? That, and it’s just plain funny. I mean, imagine little ones saying it in their sweet little voices. “Meemaw, I wuv you!”
Makes my heart swell just thinking about it. But the best part is, one day those kids will grow up and still have to call me that. Now just imagine it rolling off the lips of a twenty-something-year-old grandson:
“Okay Meemaw, here’s your walker.”
Grandparents are awesome people, as a rule. They get away with spoiling kids without having to pay the price for it that parents do. They get all the fun stuff out of child rearing without the rough nitty-gritty stuff. Grandparents can also be so instrumental in the lives of their grandkids if they choose to be, and if they are allowed to be.
I can still remember word for word some of the life lessons I heard from the lips of my grandparents.
The most important lesson I ever learned from my granddaddy was that it is ugly to stick your tongue out at someone. I had a small doll that did that when you mashed her belly.
I proudly showed it to him, and he promptly cut her tongue off. (Pride indeed goeth before a falleth) I know it sounds harsh, and I was shocked when he did it, but I still remember the lesson he shared behind it. “Tongues belong in our mouths, not pointed at another person.” An important lesson for a five-year-old.
The love shown to me by my grandparents hangs with me even today. Much of their words and practices have shaped who I am and how I live my life. I don’t have them with me anymore, but I carry them in my heart.
Grandchildren are the reward parents get for surviving the raising of their own kids.
But grandparents are also a gift. So I rejoice with my friends who are waiting for those little babies to be born into their families, and I can’t wait to see how they influence the lives of those precious ones.
I think of Timothy’s grandmother, Lois. The Apostle Paul commended her to him for her great faith, and how she passed that faith on to her daughter- and then on to Timothy. What a legacy to pass on. Is there anything more important than that? I doubt she ever considered that the act of passing on her faith to her family would impact millions as part of the Holy Scriptures. I wonder what Timothy called his grandmother..
I’m putting my money on “Meemaw”.