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Posted: May 24, 2012 9:24 p.m.

My nickname nightmares

You might recall that I'm a grandfather now. Yes. Yes. It's been a blessing, and I'd joyously dance in the streets except I'm a lousy dancer and people drive way too fast around here. So let's just pretend I'm doing a little dance of joy. And I'm joyous because grandchildren are cute, cuddly, soft and sweet. And I'm joyous because all the old cliches about being a grandparent are true. We will spoil them. We will play with them and then hand them back to the parents. We will bore people with our pictures and videos. It's all true. That's what we do. We're grandparents. And I'm joyous - except for one thing. I'm terrified at what my grandson is going to "name" me.

Are you a "Big Momma?" Are you a "Paw Paw?" Or are you one of a zillion other names that little kids come up with? Maybe you were once a Betty, Randy, Michelle, Mrs. Thompson, Mr. Grover, or something staid like that. And then you became a grandparent, and you were renamed by a gooey, sticky child who said "women" for lemon, "wight" for light, and "Wandy" for Randy. "Oh! That's so sweet! He called you ‘Wandy.' Yes! He's a fuzzy old Wandy, isn't he?" And from that day forward, you became "Wandy." Your wife calls you Wandy. Your friends call you Wandy. Sadly, you call yourself Wandy, way too often. That's what I'm afraid of. I'm afraid I'll become a Wandy - or worse.

I don't want a silly name, but I've been told that I have no say in the matter. "He will name you what he names you." That's comforting. If my grandson burps, I might get a name like "Brappo." If he's sleepy, I might become, "Mimbriggles," or something else embarrassing. "Mimbriggles! That's soooo cute!" I can't leave this to chance; I must find some way to influence him! My oldest son named his grandparents - my parents - Matmaw and Datdad. They loved those names. He's 24 and they still call themselves by those names. They have no shame. As grandparents, they know what I'm only now learning. When your grandson names you, you suck it up and take the name he or she gives you. You become "Big Momma," or "Memaw," or "Datdad," and you take it. And you love it because a new child, fresh from heaven, has named you. And that's how life works.

David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington and can be reached at davmccoy@bellsouth.net

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