Recently, I asked my college roommate, who is called “Ducky” by her four adorable grandkids, why they don’t call her “Grandma.” We were at a gathering of her family, and her brother happened to be standing nearby. She turned to him and said, “Remember what our Grandmas looked and acted like? I’m just not that old!”
Most grandmothers today share that sentiment. They’re a whole separate breed from their own grandmas, who were universally gray-haired, sported support hose and girdles, and spent their days knitting and baking. (When you hear the name, Granny, doesn’t your mind go straight to the elderly matron with the frowzy bun and “granny glasses” on the “Beverly Hillbillies”?)
In contrast, today’s grandmother is youthful and active, and extremely involved in her grandchildren’s lives. More often than not, she also gets a “you can’t possibly be a grandmother” gasp when she proudly claims her grandparent status. Is it any wonder that these women want an equally fun and vibrant name to go along with their new grandparenting style?
Personally, I’m not a mother or a stepmother, so I’ll never have to go down this naming path. But I have plenty of friends who have, and absolutely none of the names they’ve chosen conjure up visions of foundation garments or pies cooling on the windowsill.
One friend is TiKi to her three granddaughters, with the “Ti” short for Teresa and the “Ki” for her maiden name, Kelly. Another friend, who is a step-grandmother to two little ones, is Obaa, which is short for the Japanese name for Grandmother or Obaasan (she studied Japanese in college). Goldie Hawn is Glam-Ma to her grandkids, and the grandkids of Blythe Danner, who wanted to be called Woof (not sure why), call her Lalo instead.