Grandperson in Training is a new feature detailing the latest chapter in the life of award-winning columnist Lynn Rees Lambert.
by Lynn Rees Lambert
So this is what it’s like to be an almost grandparent. Yes, at long last, our prayers have been answered and we have a baby on the way. He – or she, to be determined – will be born here in the nation’s capital. And that means we will be spending a lot of time in Bytown. Babysitting. If we’re asked. What am I saying! Of course we will be asked.
My, oh my. Appears there is a lot to learn about this stage of empty nesting (yikes, does the learning never stop?) but Coach and I have been anxiously waiting for the next generation. Took long enough, not that it’s any of our business. Spike and his wife are expecting their first child and we are thrilled. Can’t wait! Think of the places we will take Junior. Think of the things we will do together! Just like my grandparents did for me … no, wait. My grandparents gave me cookies. Period. Don’t think they took me … anywhere. They were old … and we are not.
We are Boomers! We will gladly wear a Snugli and struggle to get out of it. We will endeavour to figure out how to unfold a $300 stroller while Coach tells the kids his first car (a Triumph Herald) cost less. But I am getting ahead of things. We have a few questions. Namely, the name. Make that names. Not the baby’s name, although friends tell us we have a veto, albeit a weak one. Those who have been down this path say we can lobby for family names and push for tradition but, in the end, it is of no use. Just sit back, experienced boomer grandparents advise, and simply smile and nod when your offspring inform you they have whittled down their choices.
Spike says the top contenders are Oprah if it’s a girl, and Jermajesty for the boy.
He is kidding. I think.
They will decide the child’s name—just as we did—with little input from the grandparents. In the meantime, the issue at hand is this: what do we call ourselves in these new roles? The tried and true— Grandpa and Grandma—are definitely out for obvious reasons: We don’t fit those names. Those names were a perfect fit for my grandparents and my parents. We are light years away from those generations. We are Boomers! We do not age (gracefully). We still go to concerts at LeBreton Flats and have been known—albeit rarely—to order a round five minutes to closing.
The issue doesn’t appear to be one for Coach, who doesn’t worry about what this child will call him, just as long as he calls him. Here is a man who has a natural affection for children. If there’s a baby in the house, you will find him on Coach’s shoulder. He loves to settle in with a wee one, preferably with the Golf Channel on, and before you know it he’s asleep. Coach. Sometimes the baby.
To my way of thinking, Coach is a natural Papa/Poppa. Or Poppy. There are, however, dibs on Poppy by the other set of grandparents. We—okay, I— have to let it go. They have claim, seeing as they are already grandparents and their names—Poppy and Nana—have been in use for years.
As for me, I think I would be a natural Nana, darn it all. Granny is totally out of the question, since Granny Clampett springs to mind every time I hear that. Granny in her spectacles, long skirt and boots, with a shotgun at the ready to clear off the varmints.
Nope. Not a Granny.
Neither am I a Nanny. Nanny is Coach’s 96-year-old British-born grandmother who wore heavy stockings in the July heat and couldn’t stomach foreign food. Like bananas. Nanny is a little better than Granny. But not much.
Could I be Nan? Will that add confusion? And who decides this anyway? Do new parents have a veto on grandparents’ choices of names? And what happens when the baby is finally here? Will I have input on breast or bottle? Pacifiers? Will they even want my advice? After all, things have changed since the Boomers begat Boomees. What worked for us may not necessarily work for them. (No way would I endorse my once enviro-friendly choice of cloth diapers. Yeech! Which reminds me, I should start stocking up on disposables.)
Likely I am overthinking this. Time to take a deep breath and realize the new parents will find their way with or without my input.
As for the name, guess I’ll have to wait and see. Just as new moms and dads wait a few days to see if the name they have chosen fits the child they produce, so will I wait to see who, exactly, I am. I will keep all options open.
Now that I think of it, Jermajesty does have a certain ring to it.