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"Don't call me Grandma!" Not an expression you will hear me utter.

I sing professionally, an occupation which is not kind to you as you age. Your body goes, your voice follows and you "age out" of roles you used to love. No wonder in the dressing room recently, I overheard a soon-to-be Grandma recoiling in fear! "Don't call me Grandma!" she said.

Being a grandma is an honor  - but, until you actually become a grandparent, it is difficult to fully understand and appreciate it.

I know she felt the title conjured up visions of Aunt Bea on "The Andy Griffith Show" or some blue-haired little old lady quietly knitting in a corner. Well, I am here to say – Call me Grandma – please!

Today's Grandparent

If the vision you have of "Grandma" is one of an old, feeble lady – let me fill you in. Here are some recent Grandma Stats from the US Census Bureau:

  • There are 70,000,000 grandparents in the United States!
  • The average age of becoming a grandparent is 48.
  • 75% of grandparents use the Internet.
  • 60% of grandparents have a full or part time job.
  • $2 trillion (that is 12 zeros!) spent annually by grandparents.

Grandma who?

The other statistic that has changed quite a bit is the number of grandparents a child may have. Second marriages, step-parents and extended families mean a grandchild is likely to have more than the formerly-standard 4 grandparents. Plus, if the average parent becomes a grandparent at 48, there are likely several great-grandparents around.

So, how does the average 2 year old keep all those grandmas straight? Well, there are many inventive names I have heard of:

  • Grandma Sue (that's me)
  • Grandma Pad (that is my granddaughter Lily(pad)'s name for me
  • Gramma ( I like the distinction of being just Grandma).

My own mom is living and the kids call her Gigi – a short version of Great Grandma.

Alternate Grandma names

You don't like Grandma still you say? Well, here are a few popular alternatives you might consider:

  • Nanna. (sorry, this reminds me of the sheep dog in Peter Pan)
  • Memaw
  • Grammy
  • G-Mom
  • Grams
  • Glamma
  • Lalo
  • Ammaw

If none of these suit your fancy, the American Grandparents Association has a Grandparent Name Generator.

I must tell you, however, I thought my auto-generated name of "Yana Thuemo" was curious. Please - just keep calling me Grandma!

Sue Klein

Sue is a mom of two, grandmother of four and daughter to her own mother. She blogs about all things 'grandma.' ...

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