“She didn’t really want to be a grandmother,” he said of his wife.
I looked at him as he chuckled slightly. We were sitting at coffee hour, munching away, discussing what our grandchildren call us. Before they could pronounce a true “gr” sound, I was Damma. I don’t know how the “d” got in there, but at least three of them called me that. I loved it. They were recognizing who I was in that one simple, mispronounced word. The transition to Grandma was just as delightful.
But I smiled at my friend. “My mom was the same,” I said. “She would have liked her grandkids to call her Elaine.” With the first few anyhow.
Mom was in her early forties when she first became a grandmother. I guess vanity played a role – it does that. It speaks to aging. Hello? We all do it. Can’t be avoided. So why not embrace all the wonderful things aging brings? Like insight and wisdom. Like perspective. Like the ability to laugh at ourselves and to realize how true it is that time heals. Like grandchildren.
I was 50 when our first grandchild, Elaina, was born. Yup, her name is a derivative of my mom’s and I think that pleased her. By the time Elaina was born Mom had scads of grandchildren so I guess some wisdom and the sheer delight of being around the energetic young swung the balance in their favor. Hooray for that!
We’re up to six now. They range in age from 3 to 15. Every one is a gift. Every one has his or her charms and – um – their not so charms. ?? Okay, I couldn’t figure out a word that wouldn’t incriminate. They can be a trial at times. But that’s all part of the game. The lovely, life affirming, hilarious and necessary way we go on. It has only a little to do with aging and in such a good way – if we let it.
If any of you are an aficionado of old songs, think of this one, but put whatever your grandkids call you into the first line. The song? Let Me Call You Sweetheart.
Let me call you Grandma,
I’m in love with you,
Let me hear you whisper
That you love me, too.
It’s just fine with me if they call me Grandma. I waited a half century to hear it and I whisper "I love you" every chance I get.
Photo: My sister, Shari, me and our youngest granddaughter, Sierra, at her baptism party a few years ago.