Another drawback or disadvantage of not having family traditions is that life happens and sometimes you’ve just done things one way or another simply by default. It’s not yo fault, it’s default. Take being Swedish or German or Norwegian or Russian or whatever… there are wonderful traditions that are unique or particular to that country or culture. I’m not so sure what American culture is…. or what things are particular to Americans as far as family and/or traditional or distinguishing customs go. Maybe bigger-better-more. No… bigger-better-more really is a universal thing… it’s just that the bigger-better-more may not necessarily be a tangible or material thing… it may be simply an achievement or an accumulation of knowledge or skill or whatever.
Okay, so now where was I going with all that? O, yes. I have been thinking a lot about names… what other people call us says a bit about what they think of us or what we think of what they think of us and so on. Lemme give you an example: Say I have a particular pet name for you and I call you: Dear…. I may sometimes call you Deary, or Dearest, or My-dear. Those would be sweet and the intention, sweet. But think for a moment the times you might have heard: “Yes, dear.” It actually comes out Yeeeeeeeeeeeaaahhhssssssssssssssssssssssssssss, deeeeeeir. Sounds kind of like a disgusted sigh. Think of the same statement: “Yes, dear” said in a sweet way and you understand the inherent love in the lilting tone.
In recent years I have been very quiet about a name… my name. Might be your name, too. It’s Grandma. Now, I don’t mind one little bit being a grandma or even being called grandma. That’s not what I mean… but I must say that sometimes I don’t like the sound of that name… and worse: the occasional, almost mocking nature of references to grandmas. It doesn’t sound like the sweet: Gramma… that Grammy sounding name or the sweet sound of Nanna or Mama. Nope, sometimes people make grandma sound pretty derogatory. I think you might know what I mean… especially if you’re a grandmother yourself: Someone meets you and discovers you have children who have children of their own… and you hear: So, you’re a graaaand-mah. Trying to look past the condescension, you muster up a sweet: Yes!
So, back to those traditions… if you’ve got them (those special names given to grandmothers), wonderful! If you don’t have them, then you’ll likely wear the default name: Grandma. So, I’m thinking that what women ought to do is think long and hard about what they want their name to be… what they’ll want their grandchildren to call them – and if they’ve got lots of children, then they’ll likely have lots of grandchildren and it sure would be a whole lot simpler to have one name you call yourself – that special name your grandchildren call you.
I asked our girls recently to be thinking about what they want their children to call me (when they have children). For, I recognize that, most likely, what they want their children to call me is probably most important…. probably even more important than what I want their children to call me. And… just bcz the firstborn’s children got to “name me,” doesn’t mean that’s the name I have to have – if it’s contrary to the girl’s wish. I say this bcz it sure seems to me that mothers and mothers-in-law are two entirely different sorts of grandmothers in the daughter’s and daughter’s in law’s eyes – so, that’s my rationale for asking our daughters to be thinking of the name they want their children to call me.
So, naming the grandmother. If tradition doesn’t do it… better start thinking about your own!