hands down

24 06 2009


We were at a friend’s house the other night, sipping wine and catching up with a couple that has moved to Morocco to started a custom, sustainable furniture business there.  At one point a half a dozen or so of us had landed in the livingroom and the subject of Shop Girl’s bump came up.  “So, how’s it going Grandma?”

I have to admit – I was in the middle of hugging the hostess when I almost continued the motion to put her in a full headlock till she cried “uncle”.  “No, I don’t think so…” I continued – she quickly got my point.  I can’t be Grandma.  Not because I’m not going to technically be that but names are everything.

So the discussion started.  GiGi, MiMi, Nana, Noni, Yaya…the list began and we were trying them on for size.  I like Monkee myself.  Got mixed reviews.  How about Queen Mother of the Universe?  Try as we’d like – sometimes we don’t get to choose.  Out of the mouths of babes come the best choices.

There was always a distinction between the two sides of my family.  There was no maternal grandmother alive so we only had the name for my mom’s dad – which was Grandpa Cummer.  The watchmaker.  Thick glasses, bushy squared off moustache, hearing aids with the little amplifier resting in his shirt pocket, honky-tonk piano player – and the one that would plaster his whole body in front of the TV if while babysitting a beer or cigarette commercial would come on.  Seriously.  Like Superman – arms firmly planted on his hips, inflating his tiny chest to do whatever he could to avert our innocent eyes from the evils of the world.

On the other side – was the Granddad – who died before I was 8 or so.  The black and white squares from a Brownie camera show us frequently gathered – separate shots of the grandkids (I was the youngest of 14), others of the siblings and wives/husbands.  I don’t remember the early years but I do remember after he had his stroke.

My dad would go various times a week to shave him.  He’d been left almost completely paralyzed and bound to a hospital bed that replaced a dining room table.  Having spent time working in a rehab hospital myself – I now wonder about a million more details of his situation and can’t for the life of me figure out how my grandmother and aunts’ hands managed his 24 hour care.

The hands of grandparents…the things they do and the memories they shape.  Soon enough someone will have a new perception of me.  The Mrs.’ hands that once stroked my eyebrows and traced the outlines of my face as I dozed away sleepy Sunday morning sermons…did the same for my kids.  The same hands that labored making my wedding dress made some of my kids’ favorite “dress-up” costumes.  Nothing beats her recipe for the best chocolate cake with cream cheese icing from her mother, Georgia’s hands to the Mrs.’ to mine to Shop Girl’s.

Maybe I’ll get to teach Baba Louie how to blog…

You can re-read some the history of the mix here.



7 responses

24 06 2009

we’ve used “nanny” in our family, which I’ve never been comfortable with either

24 06 2009

my first name works just fine…i’m even considering that!

24 06 2009

My oldest boys had 6 sets of grandparents (including great grandparents) and used different names for each; grandma and grandpa; abuelo y abuela; nana and papa; yayo and yaya; nonnie and gramps; gg and grandpa. I agree though, usually the best names come from the mouth of babes! Have fun with it though….my dad says had he known how much fun it was to be a grandpa he;d have done that first LOL

24 06 2009

I had the same reaction when someone first suggested ‘grandma”. I get it. I chose Nana B [for my last name] the kids skip the nana and call be ‘B’. Its a great time. Congrats, Wendy and David.

24 06 2009

What goes with “PopPop”? I’m glad it was just plain Grandma, instead of something like “MopMop???? Yikes. Like you said, out of the mouths of babes…came PopPop!

24 06 2009

You don’t care what that baby will call you. My sweet baby boys looked at me and babbled mamamama and I was sure it was grandma they were saying. We are the traditional grandpa and grandpa or ra’ma and papa whick I also love. They can call me anything, their little voices are the sweetest sounds are earth.

29 06 2009

Hmmm… Queen Yaya of the Universe? Queen Wendy? Oh Most Exalted One?

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