What’s your name?

4 Aug

Abba and G-Pa in Waterton, Alberta.

Abba is what my grandchildren call me. It is my nickname for abuela, grandmother in Spanish. My sister became a grandmother before I did, and she came up with the shortened name, although she is “Aba”; I added a “b” to distinguish my handle from hers. Having a different name helps our family because my grands have grandparents and great-grandparents galore, and it helps to keep it all straight. I mean, the children don’t have the same name as their sibling, so why should their grandparents all have the same name? So, I am Abba, and the other grandma is Grandma, and my mother is Grandma Elsie (her mom was Grandma Lillian before she went to her reward) and my dad is Grandpa Dick. My husband’s dad and stepmom are Grandpa Ed and Grandma Helen. Grandma’s husband is Grandpa and his mom is Nana (although Nana has been recalled to Glory, she is still Nana). With me so far? My husband was a Grandpa, too. Then one day he decided this was all very confusing, so we are trying the grands on the southern G-Pa for his moniker, which is working with the middles. The oldest still calls him Grandpa half of the time, and the youngest calls him G-da. Adorable, right?
Why is a name so important? I ask this, because our youngest grand has two sisters with the same name. He doesn’t really, but since he started talking, he has called them both by the same name. Even when his dad tries to trick him, he still calls one sister by the other’s name. This is confusing to say the least. I think of all the time (one year?) he had before he started talking for him to figure this out, and I personally think he is just messing with our heads. Maybe it is payback for all the grandma and grandpa names he’s had to sort out.
As our life expectancy lengthens, we will have this problem multiplying. We will have Great-great grandma Rose who is showing up to a youngster’s birthday party with her mom and aunt, and who knows what confusion the child will have to sort out. I know that some families have dispensed with the formalities already, and children are calling their elders by their given names. Our family likes the respect that those formalities imbue. We want the children to know that these older people, who happen to be related to them in some fashion, are not just wrinkled playmates. And we older folk need some clout in the playroom when the Wii remote is at stake.
Perhaps we need to start to plan ahead for this eventuality. We might need to coin a new name for the Great-grandparents and even the Great-greats. Greatmother and Greatfather? Macromom and Macropop? I don’t have the answer. I am just posing the question. For now, Abba and G-Pa work for our family: Our little identity crisis solution.

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2 Responses to “What’s your name?”

  1. alanthefriesen August 6, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    G-Ma & G-Pa, GG-Ma and GG-Pa, and so forth… could work!

    • abbafriesen August 6, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

      Hi Alan,
      Yes, I guess adding G’s could work. But by the third “G” we would have to amend it to G-3-Pa, which sounds androidic to me. But to each his or her own. Have you thought about what your grands will call you? You have a few years to think about it!
      abba

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