Grandma or Granny?

Tuesday , 9, August 2011 13 Comments

I never knew that much went in what your grandparents are called.  This may be because I grew up with two Grandmas and two Grandpas (I did get a Memaw as a teenager).   Until one day about 4 years ago I asked my step mom if she wanted to be called Memaw (I thought it would be great!) but to her Memaw was her mother, so Grandma it is.  And then my mother-in-law wanted to be called Nana (both her sisters are called Nana and she liked it).  For some reason I struggle to honor this one, not on purpose, I just find myself calling her Grandma Sue – and then smacking myself on the forehead and saying “I mean Nana.”  Did you have this conversation with any of your children’s Grandmothers?  Did you really have this conversation with them?  Our newest guest blogger, Mary, gives you Grandma’s perspective on choosing a grand-name – and what it really meant to her.   –Maggie

Does it really matter what your grandchildren call you?  Sometimes we get the name the child decides to call us, which is ok with us just as long as they call us right?  I’ve heard Nana, Memee, Memaw and a score of others.  Some of my research for this blog turned up some new “modern” grandmother names such as BeBe, GiGi,  Mia & Mimi.  Hmm…not sure about those!  Regardless, how do we decide what we want to be called?

I can only answer this based on my own experience with my Grandma and my Granny.  These two women were as different as night and day.  They both loved us and we loved them; but when I see the name Granny, I think of the type person my Granny was and the same for my Grandma.

My Granny was one of those people who cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner and when she put it on the table, you ate it.  No questions, no complaints.  My Grandma on the other hand would ask us what we wanted to eat and although she always put a balanced meal on the table, it would include at least one of the items we asked for.  And she would always surprise us with some kind of treat, like her homemade applesauce.  Granny would send us home with the leftovers, but Grandma would send us home with the leftovers and some extra treats.

Granny would babysit us and send us in the yard to play.  Remember when kids still did that?  Now she did live on a farm where there were acres and acres for us to play on.  And I have to admit that we did not complain at all about being sent outside because if we stayed inside, we had to watch soap operas or Lawrence Welk!  Grandma on the other hand would come outside and play games with us, or simply watch us play.  She was like our angel watching over us.  She always hugged and kissed us when we first arrived at her house and then again when we left.  We knew she loved us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because we felt it.

These are just a couple of the differences in my Granny and my Grandma but ultimately they were different because they were different people.  My Granny was a result of her upbringing as was my Grandma.  And as I said, they both loved us in their own way and we knew that.

So I am Grandma, although my grandchildren can call me Bella (another one of those “modern” names) if they chose.  However I chose to be called Grandma because I want to inspire my grandchildren with love that they’ll always know is there.  They’ll know it because they’ll see me showing it and hear me saying it on a continuous basis.  And when I’m gone, I want my grandchildren to still feel my love in their memories and of course in the love I’ll be sending them when I’ve become their angel watching over them.

So how did you decide your grandparent name?  Were there experiences in your life that influenced it?  If you’re not a grandparent yet, have you given this topic any thought yet? I’d love to hear other people’s thought process on this!

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  • Debie says:

    One of my grandmothers was called “Muddie” by all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her first grandchild (my older sister) always heard our Mom calling her “Mother”, and that just came out “Muddie” when my sister started talking.

    • Mary says:

      Too cute Debie! I’ve heard several unusual Grandparent names that started because of a child’s pronunciation. One that comes to mind is someone I used to work with. He was a big man, and his grandchildren had started out calling him Pops. However, his granddaughter noticed her grandmother calling him Honey. Before long, it became HoneyPop! He would proudly tell you too, that his name was HoneyPop!

  • Jane Richardson says:

    Well, I’m a granny. We had the debate on what to be called with kids while they were expecting. They decided my husband would be Pops, as that was would he would call older male drivers when he was frustrated behind the wheel. Of course, the grandkids have fun calling him anything that starts with “pop”. Hence popsicle, popcorn, pop tart or popsie. They originally teased me that I would be grandest. The logic behind that was my mother-in-law was gran, my mother had wanted grandmother which was shortened to grander. Therefore, gran, grander, grandest made sense. I didn’t like that idea so they said granny and pops went well together. So I said okay with me. Well, son’s mother-in-law went back and forth on several different names and finally decided on grammy after the granny was decided. Little kids can not distinguish between Grammy and granny. So I started telling them I wasn’t Grammy I was gran-knee. My 2 yr old grandson was calling me nanny, as he couldn’t pronounce the “g”. Bottom line it really doesn’t matter what they call you as long as they associate you with love and you build those memories with them.

    • Mary says:

      Too funny Jane! Grandest and PopTart go together as well! 🙂

      I agree though…it really doesn’t matter to most people what we’re called. We just want to be sure those little hearts know who we are and remember to come see us!

  • Jennifer Workman says:

    My children had so many grandparents at one time they wound up calling my granny “Other Granny”…at first I thought she might object but she didn’t seem to mind. Also, some of the grandchildren call grandparents one name while others use a different name. I think as long as the grandparents get hugs and visits they really don’t care what we call them. 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Some of the grand kids have more than one Grandma so our real name has gotten added to it; i.e. Grandma Mary, Grandma June, etc. Then I’ve heard Granny and Big Granny being used for each generation. But you have it right Jennifer! Don’t forget the hugs and we’ll be fine!

  • Janet Caldwell says:

    Well, as a woman who is sensitive about her age, and because I did become a grandmother at such a young age, I preferred to be called Jan-Jan. It stuck and today all six of my grandchildren call me Jan-Jan. I got that nickname from my dad, so it’s very special to me. It’s worked out really well because we have several blended families with many grandparents – but I’m the only Jan-Jan.

    • Mary says:

      Thanks for posting Janet! I was hoping someone with an usual name would comment.

      It’s great that your name has a special meaning for you and now it’s continued with your grandchildren. Did you get any resistance from the adults when you suggested the kids call you Jan-Jan?

  • Kelli says:

    Reading this blog was like reading about my own grandmothers. I had a Grandma and a Granny too and they were almost identical to Mary’s. I think I would prefer Grandma, but would welcome whatever my future grandchildren want to call me.

    • Mary says:

      You know Kelli, I have said that in the past as well but the few times I’ve had someone call me Granny (usually another adult who didn’t know what my grandchildren call me) I find myself correcting them pretty quickly. Hmm…

  • Mary says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments! Feel free to continue the conversation(s) and come back soon for my next blog as well! I have several ideas going around in my head but none have made it to the keyboard yet. 🙂

  • Rachel says:

    Thanks for all the comments ladies! What an interesting subject. I, like Maggie, didn’t think much of the whole ‘what should grandma be called’ thing because I was raised with 2 grandmas and 2 grandpas. Now that i am about to have my own child, I realize there is more that goes into choosing a name! My mother-in-law is still undecided 🙂 No worries though. Little guy won’t be able to call her anything for a while! She has some time to figure it out!

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