Newsletter: Grandparents Names

In my latest newsletter, I wrote about Names for Grandparents. I talked about my Grandma Lucille Pack (pictured above with her young children). Some of the questions on my mind:

-How did you/do you address your grandparents? Or great-grandparents?
-If you’re a parent, how do your kids address their grandparents?
-If you are a grandparent, or picture being one someday, how do you want your grandkids to address you?

I love the responses to the newsletter. So much variation and so many good stories — the variation is especially fun for me because I grew up thinking the general rule was that all grandparents were addressed as Grandpa or Grandma. Hah! Boy was I wrong.

I hope you get a chance to read the newsletter (and the responses!). The newsletter also includes links to interesting articles I’ve found around the internet.

8 thoughts on “Newsletter: Grandparents Names”

  1. Eleanor Frances

    My first grandchild was born around the time Barack Obama was elected to his first term as President. If you remember, the day before he died, his grandmother, who resided in Hawaii died. She was an active part of his growing up and he lived with his grandparents while in High School. He called her Tootsie, or Toots, which I believe reflects Hawaiian tradition. While deciding on what to be called, my daughter in law and I learned al of this, looked at each other, smiled and said Tootsie is it. Now I am fortunate to have 4 grandchildren who call me Toots. Thank you Barack.

  2. My mom’s parents were Grandmama (still going strong almost 98) and Papa. My dad’s mother died before I, the first grandchild, was born, so no grandparent name. Her husband was Grandpa Joe, which is also my dad’s name now for his grandkids. My mom goes by Gamma, which I believe she chose. Grandmama is called Great-grandmama by the greats and great greats.

  3. My paternal grandparents were Grandma and Grandpa, and the Italian-American side was Nonni and Nonno. My great-grandmothers were “Big Nonni” (which is only because of age-she was probably 4’10”) and Gram. My mom decided when my kids were born that “Grandma” sounded old and frumpy-so she and my dad have always gone by Grandmom and Granddad. My husband’s parents were Grammy and Sabba (Hebrew for grandfather.) Lots of my friends’ parents do go by made up names that the first grandchild came up with, and that have stuck through the years. That’s great-just makes Hallmark cards tougher! I suspect I have at least 10 years before I need to decide what my husband and I would want to be called-and I have zero thoughts! I guess I’ll let it unfold.

  4. I don’tt live in an English-speaking country (I’m a German-Italian-French woman who married a French-speaking Belgian, living partly in Romania, and my son’s wife is half Belgian and half Syrian). My grandson calls his grandparents Bilou (nickname of his Belgian grandmother), Jid (his Syrian grandfather, means … grandfather in Arabic), Nonna (myself) and Nonno (his paternal grandfather). He calls Nonno’s second wife by her first name.
    I called all my grandparents Nonno or Nonna, and my surviving Italian great-grandmother Nonna Bis.
    Many people think traditional names are old-fashioned, but I think that’s exactly what we are: grandparents. So let our grandkids call us in the traditional way, because they have to consider us grandmother or grandfather, not friends ot whatever.

  5. My english Grandparents were Granny and Grandpa. Unfortunately my German Grandparents had already died before I arrived. My children called my parents Granny and Opa Klaus and their German Grandparents Opa and Oma.

  6. As an older person, I can say that it felt weird to give myself a grandma-type name. It felt artificial, pretentious, so I didn’t do it. But really, choose something. If you’re just “Grandma,” they still have to distinguish you from their other grandmothers, so you end up being Grandma Smith or Grandma Claudette–which may be OK with you.

    Think about it ahead. I suggest avoid being too cute or too trendy in your choice so they can more easily accept it,. And just announce, “When the grand baby arrives, you can call us Nana and Bubba.” Start using the new names as you sign cards or emails. And if you’re a couple, you can call each other the new names to help get it going.

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