Recently the NY Times ran an article titled “Who Are You Calling Grandma?” The topic seems to have touched a nerve as midlife women are weighing in from everywhere.
There seems to be a consensus that BEING a grandma is wonderful – but being called a grandma (for many) is not. The word grandma typically calls forth stereotypical images of the soft, red-cheeked, wrinkly woman in the kitchen trying to feed us more than we healthfully needed, or whatever image your past experience paints for you. Mostly there seems to be a negative connotation between the word grandma and, well… old.
Those stereotypical images don’t fit with today’s maturing women because most of us just don’t feel old. Many midlife women are going back to school, starting new careers, creating businesses and traveling the world. We’re picking up the creative pursuits we neglected for so many years and engaging our energies in all sorts of new adventures. We’re redefining what the next 50 is all about!
After a lot of deliberation I finally settled on being called “Nonni.” It resonated, was easy to pronounce and, most importantly, I had no preconceived notions attached to the word. Therefore, I felt no pressure to become what the word represented – I could make it up as I went along. My granddaughter’s paternal grandmother chose to be called “Amachi” stemming from her Basque heritage. Other women have proudly become Nana, Lola, Nona, Giggi, Grammy, Mutti, Meme, Oma, Glam-Ma (think Goldie Hawn) and any number of amusing versions that come with a child’s mispronunciation!
What do you want to be called when your offspring’s bundle of joy is placed in your arms … and why?