Our daughter and son-in-law (Alison and Andy) told Page and me recently that we are going to be grandparents. This is the first time for us. Grandparents. Wow! That’s great news... and exciting news... but just a little bit sobering news, as well.
Here’s the sobering part... To be a grandparent, one has to have been around a while. It doesn’t mean a person is old. It just means they’re no longer necessarily young. I’ve actually been thinking about what I want the child to call me. Not “Grandpa.” That sounds old. Uncomfortably old. Furthermore, Page would never desire to be married to a “grandpa.” That is one of life’s certainties. So, what do I want to be called (especially that allows me to maintain the illusion of still being young, or at least young-ish)?
There’s actually a web site with suggested grandparental nicknames. It’s called “SheKnows.” Some of that website’s suggestions for grandfather titles were: “Bobo” (Nope, sounds like a clown or that monkey who starred in movies from the ‘40s), “Boppa” (Huh uh, that invites the kid to bop me in the nose if so desired), “Pa” (Seriously? Doesn’t that make you think of straw hats and overalls?), “PopPop” (I do not want to be called anything that sounds like the noise made by a BB gun), and, I’m not kidding, “Grandpappy” (That one will not even be honored with a response).
So, what do I want to be called? If you drop one “Pop” from “PopPop,” that might work. “Pop”? That’s not bad. It conjures up images of fly balls or sodas. There’s nothing aged about “Pop.” That could work. Another suggestion from the website is “Ace.” I have no idea on what planet that relates in any conceivable way to being a grandparent, but it is clearly preferable to Bobo. “Clooney”? “Denzel”? “Pitt”? Okay, quit laughing. I mean it. You cannot laugh and read simultaneously.
My sons called their grandparents by their first names. I’m not sure how that started, but it did. Grandma was “Margaret,” and Grandad was “Andy.” Whereas my sons call me “Dad,” our daughters call me “Bruce” (my middle name). If that’s what the baby hears, I just may wind up being “Bruce” (a blending of traditions from both our sons and our daughters – using the person’s actual name). “Bruce” could work. Then, of course, there’s the old dependable “Grandad.” It’s standard and trustworthy like a mid-size, mid-range automobile that has been around for generations. On the other hand, anything that has been around for generations loops us back to the original concern: that I do not have a strong comfort level with how Page would feel about being married to someone known as “Grandad.” Nix that one.
Ultimately, the grandchild will call me whatever works best for her (yep, the new grandbaby is a girl). And whatever she chooses will sound like music to me (with the undeniable exception of “Grandpappy” – not gonna’ happen!). The deal is that we are being blessed with new life, with a new generation of family, with the presence of hope and laughter and love in ways that are different from those we have experienced before. We are being given a gift from God. So, the best things to call me, in honesty, are “Blessed,” “Thankful,” “Excited,” and “Thrilled.” (Hmmmm... Nice words. They don’t even make me sound old.)