I recently heard that another cousin in our family is expecting her first grandchild next year, and the discussion turned to her grandma name. She said she was considering the name “Mimi,” and that conversation was the inspiration to what I am writing about today.
When I first learned I was going to be a grandma, I met the news with both joy and then—I admit now—a little fear of my own mortality and then “no denying it you are old.”
What should I be called? I associated the name “Grandma” with being elderly, so I looked at other options. I had no idea how many other choices exist: Nana, Mimi, Maman (that was Aunt Marian’s name), Memaw, Gigi (taken by the other grandma), Grammy, G’Ma, Grams, Nanny, and Noni. I could go on depending on whether I wanted traditional, trendy, playful, or international.
Then I spoke to Aunt El, who pointed out that every child needs a “Grandma” and “Grandpa,” and since the other grandma was going to be Gigi, I chose Grandma and Daddy went along with Grandpa.
The thing is, I knew that I might not get my wish. Sometimes, the babies drive the decision on the name. So once our little one began to speak, I became “Gamma” and Dad became “Bampa.”
At first I corrected him, and then I thought, “Well, that’s kind of cute,” so I went with that. Dad loved “Bampa” so he did not want that to change. Little by little, the “r” was added, and I was back to being called “Grandma.” Dad, however, is sticking with “Bampa.” While the only way he will be able to have a personalized mug with that name on it is if it is custom-made, I will always be able to find “Grandma” accessories.
I admit that I am a little jealous of his unique grandpa name. Maybe if I knew he was going to be called Bampa, I would have adopted the name of my Russian grandmother and we could have been Baba and Bampa. But it’s too late for that now so we are forever Grandma and Bampa for the first grandchild and all others after that. I don’t care as long as the hugs keep coming.