What, oh what, will that name be?

Published 7:30 pm Wednesday, May 15, 2013

     Last fall my husband had an accident, the kind that took two hours and the jaws of life to free him from.

     That same day, in the midst of intense emergency room emotions, our son made a big announcement. A baby was on the way, and boy, was he glad his dad was alive to know it.

     And so, as my husband started months of physical therapy, and my daughter-in-law battled morning, afternoon and evening sickness, I began my own quest – for a name. No, not one for the baby. For me, the grandma.

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     When else do you actually get to choose your own name, unless you’re moving to Hollywood or obtaining an Internet domain? This name game, I decided, was serious business. I tried to imagine all the scenarios.

     “_________, please tie my shoe.”

“Will __________ come pick up her grandchild at the service desk?”

“_________________” written in bold calligraphy on graduation and wedding invitations.

     Sobering thoughts, indeed.

     My husband, so unlike me, settled on his name as he does with many issues – quickly and with no second guessing. Actually, he had decided some time ago that he liked the term of endearment, “Boss.” He’d seen it work well in the grandfather role of his employer, a former governor whose first choice had been – get this –  “Chairman.”

     And so I was left to choose a complement to Boss. Bossy? Not exactly the image I’m after.

     It wasn’t long before I began bringing up my dilemma at family gatherings. What better subject to discuss amid the pot roast and china? However, with five children (parents of potential name-users) all exercising their veto powers, I didn’t make much progress.  

     I appealed to their years of Latin. Avia?

     I humbled myself. Big Mama?

     Finally, I took an approach their generation could appreciate. I googled it.

     Among the hundreds of suggestions were, of course, the traditional – beloved names like Granny, Memaw and Nana. Then there was a trendy list topped by the likes of G-Mom, BeBe, Lovey. And for the unique grandma? Try Mambo, Gitchey. or, my personal favorite – Nanoo.

     True to my personality, I have managed to drag this saga out for a full nine months. I had a good excuse until the other grandmother-to-be settled on Essy. I figured it was like the wedding attire rule – you let the bride’s mother pick hers first.

     Most recently, though, we’ve honed in on K.K. (which my daughter-in-law actually inscribed on a shower thank-you note), and Mother Bear. Mother Bear. I know, that one’s pretty bad, but it brings back wonderful memories of Else Minarik’s Little Bear books.

     In talking with my peers who have already made the passage into grandmotherhood, I discovered no matter what title they eventually came into, all seem to agree on one thing. Grandchildren are just … so … well .. . GRAND.

     So it’s possible I’ve had it all wrong. Perhaps the weight of coming up with the right name rightfully rests on the tiny shoulders of the first grandchild, who will undoubtedly be GRAND.

     Maybe a year from now, as we sit around the Sunday dinner table, in the midst of all those with veto powers, he (or she – they want to be surprised) will look at me fondly from where he (or she) sits in a highchair and utter a syllable or two that will stick.

     I just hope it’s not Gitchey.

     Wesson resident Kim Henderson is a freelance writer who writes for The Daily Leader. Contact her at henderson7@juno.com.