I’m fighting urges to get a tattoo, shop at Zara and book a backpacker holiday to Asia.
Concurrent to the birth of 47 year old Collette Dinnegan’s second child making SMH news, for the second time this year a high school friend of the same age became a new grandmother, announcing via a Facebook message “Officially a nana”. Of course she isn’t the first of my similarly aged acquaintances to become a grandmother.
Yes, the G.O. has grandkids. I didn’t say my urges to espouse youth were logical. I visualise a stereotypical grandmother, my Nanna, for instance, and just don’t see me.
Maybe that’s where my disconnect lays. Women of my generation aren’t stereotypical, and I grant nor necessarily were my grandmother’s but grandmothers do have a fairy tale image. My counterparts are mums, grandmothers, or like me – childless, and possibly step parents or step grandmothers – but the same vintage.
This brings me to another point. What do the kiddies call step-grandmothers? By association with their Poppy, the G.O.’s grandkids logically initially went with Nanna. Fortunately kids are easily influenced, unlike their parents who are wedded to convention. With only a little counter-education from me, the grandkids now easily refer to me by my first name.
But, it wasn’t all about me. These kids already had a proliferation of multi-generational nanna’s and pop’s referred to by the honorary title plus correlating family surnames. Yet another nanna, and one with a rogue surname (the G.O. & I not being married) was going to create confusion. I also feel that the nanna moniker belongs rightly to the person who did the hard yards of raising the parents.
In the way of kids, the G.O.’s granddaughter, the eldest, took this flexibility and ran with it. What was an appropriate differentiating title for my corresponding Poppy? She & I conferred. We assessed Poppy’s countenance, and swiftly christened him Poppy Hairy, which has been happily embraced by her younger brothers in turn.
I referred to my stepmother’s mother; my siblings’ grandmother, as Nanna S, similar to my mum’s mother and my dad’s grandmother Nanna B, differentiated by their surnames. Even though I never knew her father, my mum’s stepfather I called Uncle Eric.
Dad’s mother and father though are matchlessly simply Nanna & Pa, no distinction necessary. Nanna was not quite 44 when I was born. When I think of the 44 year old me and others I know, I see no parallels with my Nanna.
According to Wiki there are a plethora of grandparental title variations. My family doesn’t do “nana”. To us a ‘nana is a fruit, or we “do our ‘nana” when things go pear shaped. Our nanna’s have 2 n’s and lots of time & love. The terms Nanna and Pa are familial cultural heritage. Both my uncles proudly are called Pa by their grandkids, as I hope my Dad will be.
Last, a cautionary tale. A couple of weeks ago my step-grandfather passed on. My younger sister as is her custom shared the news via Facebook status update referring to Papa, as her grandfather was known by the family. “Papa” with a different inflection, can also be a term for father… but while shaking my head at her need to share family news via Facebook, nothing further occurred to me until I woke at 5.30 am to see a text message from a work friend surprised & upset to learn via that status update, of the passing of my dad. I quickly responded with a clarification but later in the day seeing a long list of comments to the post, rang my other sister who hadn’t seen it but also had received mistaken condolences re Dad.
Worried others had seen the update and arrive well meaning at the church for the funeral and confusingly see Dad well and alive, or send condolence cards, elder sister intervened and suggested an explanatory status update. We haven’t enlightened Dad about his near death experience.