Modern names for modern grannies

Columnist Ann Rickard is a proud grandmother of seven of the most beautiful grand-children in the land, and she says she's not biased. She gives us her take on grandmother names.

Choosing a grandmother or grandfather name might seem of little importance when you first find out you are going to become a grandparent, but believe me, it is.

This name is going to stick with you, and if you have happened to choose a name off-the-cuff that you don't really have a fondness for, you are going to hate it until your dying day.

So...give it lots of thought.

No longer are us ladies required to be called Granny. (We shudder at that one.)

Any woman of a certain age now will remember or know about the Grannies of yesterday. Always old beyond their years, usually with a tight perm in their grey or white hair, a heavy cardigan around their stooped shoulders, hanky up the sleeve, a chair by the fire, slippers on the bunioned feet, knitting at hand. That is so not us, right?

Today's grandmothers have caramel highlights in their blonde, fashionable hairstyles, they will sport the latest fashion labels, wouldn't know what to do with a hanky if they owned one, and are more likely to be found at the gym doing high intensity interval training than in a chair by the fire.

So, we need a name that makes us sound as fabulous and fun as we are.

Ten years ago, I went through the name choosing when my first grandchild was due.

Rejecting outright Nanna, Grandma or Granny, but considering cute Italian and French names of Nonna and Grand-mere, I decided to keep on looking. I thought briefly of a Dutch name but Grootmoeder didn't quite cut it. And seeing as I am not Italian, French or Dutch, it wasn't quite right.

I consulted many a sassy woman of a certain age on this important subject. Finally, one came up with the name "Mimi".

I liked it. And so my life as Mimi began.

Seven grandchildren later and the name is now as much part of my personality and character as my proper (boring) name, Ann.

Mimi is an easy one for children to say. It is very close to 'Mummy'. And say it they do. From the very minute they can talk.

The only problem is, they all say it at once. There is a great chorus of "Mimi' the moment they come in the door and charge at me. They seem unable to begin a sentence without a loud and raucous "Mimi' at the start.

So entrenched is my Mimi name, my adult children call me that now. Mum, has all but been forgotten.

As for suitable grandfather names...not so difficult. Who doesn't love 'Poppa' or "Pop" or even plain old Grandad? They are all endearing and traditional and right. Unless you are a groovy grandfather with a sleeve tattoo and a motor bike, then you'll need to look for something a bit more...er...you.

www.annrickard.com  


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