By Any Other Name

By Any Other Name

From Chicken Soup for the Grandma's Soul

By Any Other Name

What is in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.

William Shakespeare

Contemplating my impending role as grandparent, I spent countless hours and multiple conversations debating what my new grandchild should call me. After all, this was a big decision: a sacred moniker—set in stone—to be used by countless future grandchildren.

I mused over the merits and disadvantages of various names, rolling them around my tongue, tasting them, savoring them—trying them on for size. Grandmother? Too formal. Grandma? Mundane. Nana? Nah.

From the quirky Punkin’ to the colloquial Gran, the whimsical Oma to the formal Grandma-ma (with an elegant accent on the last syllable), I experimented with them all.

“Give it up,” said my more experienced girlfriends. “That first grandbaby will call you what she will. And, anyway, the actual name won’t matter. Why, you’ll be so thrilled, it won’t matter what she calls you. Trust us,” they nodded in agreement. “You won’t care.”

Well, grandbaby Avery turned one and my daughter put her on the phone so I could hear her chatter across the two thousand miles separating us. I knew this verbose babe’s burgeoning repertoire now included words like drink, ball, banana, hi and even the names of several animals. With any luck . . .

“Hello, sweet pea,” I gushed. “Happy birthday!”

“Avery, say ‘hi’ to Grammy,” my daughter coaxed at the other end. “Say ‘hi.’”

And then it happened. It really happened. A precious, breathy little voice pulled together two words from her vocabulary and cooed into the phone, “Hi, dog.”

My daughter giggled, then erupted into a full laugh— and baby Avery repeated her new achievement with enthusiasm, delighted that it appeared to make her mommy so happy.

“Hi dog, hi dog, hi dog.”

Huh, I laughed, my girlfriends were wrong. I care. I care a lot.

Carol McAdoo Rehme

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