What it means to be a Grandma…

This is a post I wrote a couple of years ago, but something sparked me this morning to share it again.  It’s all about Grandmothers…

GRamma vs. GLamma… or a rose is a rose is a rose

A Today Show segment caught my eye a couple of days ago.  It was about Boomer grandmothers who are rejecting the moniker Grandma and all its traditional forms… favoring names such as Glamma (the combination of Grandma and Glamorous), made-up names, ethnic/cultural monikers and even first names.

It seems, to some, that Grandma and Nana conjure up all kinds of images… old ladies in cotton house-dresses and spectacles, jiggly arms, white hair (ok, blue hair!), bent-over backs, pearl necklaces and earrings, sensible shoes, neat little hats and the like.

This got me thinking…

I became Grandma on January 14, 2001 to my first grandchild Taylor Jane.  The name fit me like a perfect little glove.  I don’t even remember discussions about what this precious little baby would call me.  I was Grandma from the first moment and it was by far one of the happiest moments of my life.

I am now Grandma to 9 grandchildren… 2 girls and 7 boys.  Each time one of my grandchildren says Grandma, it’s like a miracle happening all over again.

But back to the GRamma vs. GLamma discussion.

My Mom’s mom was my Nana.  My Dad’s Mom was my Grandma.  Both my Nana and my Grandma looked like grandmothers of the 40′s, 50′s and even 60′s…

Yes, my grandmothers wore cotton house-dresses and even graduated to colorful polyester blends.  They wore wire-rimmed glasses that were kind of crooked a lot of the time.  They wore pearls and only pearls and very sensible shoes and neat little hats.  And their hair was white and permed in soft, little curls.

But what I really remember of my grandmothers is not how they looked, but how much they loved me… how tight and how big their hugs were and how their eyes danced when they saw me coming.  I remember how they smelled so fresh with delicious soap or strawberries or Thanksgiving dinner.

I remember how they smiled easily and laughed often… and how my lovely little Nana would let go a sting of cuss words that would scare a sailor if she got angry enough at her beloved Boston Red Sox.  My Mom didn’t get that particular cussing gene, but I sure did… and each time I let go a few choice cuss words in the presence of my grandchildren, I think of my Nana and just smile.

I remember my short, stout little Nana slinging a 1,000-pound turkey or so it seemed for her entire family each Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.  I remember her Boston Baked Beans ‘n Franks and brown bread on Saturday nights.  To this day, I rarely eat hot dogs because no-one can make one like my Nana did.  I remember sitting with her on her front screened-in porch on hot summer nights, listening to her stories of her childhood and of my Mom and my Mom’s 6 siblings.  I remember my Nana’s Lucky Strike cigarettes burning down to the slightest ash as her wonderful memories were woven before me like the greatest tapestry.

I remember my Grandma in her kitchen in her farmhouse in Michigan.  I remember her strawberry patches like I was just there this morning.  I remember her running across the dirt driveway from the barn to the house… carrying what she needed for breakfast.  I loved visiting my Grandma and Grandpa in Michigan.  I remember sitting with my Grandma in her road-side vegetable stand… me on a high stool so I could see.  I remember sun bonnets and tractor rides and a big, old wringer washing machine.

I remember my Nana and my Grandma’s white hair… so soft, so silky.  I remember the scent of Jean Nate and talcum powder.  I remember trying on their pearls and brushing my own hair with their hair, comb and mirror sets.  Didn’t every grandmother have one of those sets?

I remember aprons that went around their necks and tied or snapped in the back… often tattered with age, but still functional enough.

I remember quarters and sometimes even a dollar bill being sneaked into my pocket… for candy.

I remember LOVE.  That’s what I remember.  The words Grandma and Nana mean LOVE to me.

If my grandchildren have a fraction of the loving memories of me that I have of my grandmothers… my Grandma-hood will have been blessed.

But this is not to say that I wear cotton house-dresses, sensible shoes or crooked glasses.  This is not to say that I want jiggly arms or snow-white hair.  I don’t.  Not yet, anyway.

I love to wear my jean capris and completely insensible shoes.  I love wild dangling earrings and hair that isn’t white.  Yet.  And I love to play.

But most of all, I LOVE being Grandma.

I honestly think it’s wonderful, creative, fun and completely awesome to choose a grandparent moniker that is unique to an individual.  I know lots of Boomer grandparents who’ve done this and their families love it.  Kudos to them!

But I’m in love with Grandma.  I love it for the love, the memories, the tradition… and the heart and soul of the sound of it.

Every single day,  I feel that my two beautiful grandmothers are loving the sound of it, too… through me!

And, oh yeah… I love pearls, too.  A rose is a rose is a rose and just maybe a pearl is Grandma to me.



What it means to be a Grandma… was last modified: July 9th, 2015 by Sharon Couto
SHOWHIDE Comments (3)
  1. What a lovely tribute to grandparents. Some of my most precious memories of my childhood, and even into adulthood, involve my grandmothers. The recipes I make, the things I say – all come from them. I hope one day I am able to be a Grandma and share that kind of love with my grandchildren.

  2. LOVE this post. The words. The photos. You are a wonderful woman, friend, mother and Grandma! You’re stylish, fun, wise, athletic AND glamorous, but not a GLAMMA! There is something so special about grandparents. I feel so blessed to have a grandmother around still. My MEMERE is a total Memere. My kids call my mother Memere too! My Grammy was a total Grammy. She is gone now. Gone before I had my children. Something that makes me so sad. But you know what is so special? My daughter was born on my Grammy’s birthday! I was supposed to be induced the day after…but she came on the exact day on her own! 😉

  3. Such an incredibly sweet post! You are certainly Glam in many ways, but you are an amazing Grandma–One of the most GRAND I know!

    I had a Nana and a Grandma Hootie (she collects owls) We’re still waiting to see what name Avery chooses for her grandparents!

What it means to be a Grandma… was last modified: July 9th, 2015 by Sharon Couto