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June 16, 2009

Just Don't Call Me 'Grandma'

We have what you might call a blended family.  We adopted our nine-year-old daughter from China and my husband has two adult children from his first marriage.   We have different cultures, religions and generations represented in our immediate family which I have always loved.

Until now.

My older stepdaughter had a baby girl a month ago, making my husband a grandfather for the first time.  However, as a 50-something mom, I am not ready to be a grandmother.  And technically, I'm not -- but I am going to have to get my head around this situation where I have a soon-to-be fourth-grader and a little baby who's going to need to call me something other than 'Joanne' in a year or two. 

But it ain't gonna be grandma! 

I acknowledge the fact that I am chronologically old enough to be a grandmother (mine was a week shy of her 40th birthday when I was born), but there are still plenty of days when I'm getting my head around the fact that I'm a mom to a nine-going-on-35 year old daughter.

I'm certainly not going with Bubbe.  Yes, my husband's side of the family is Jewish, but I just don't see myself as Bubbe.  Grammy?  Nope.  Nana?  Don't think so.   But recently the media came up with a term for the First Grandmother, Marion Robinson, that I think I could embrace -- Glam-ma!

There are plenty of days when glamorous is definitely NOT the word I would use to describe either my life or my appearance, but perhaps I could grow into Glam-ma!   Because, really, doesn't grandma conjure up the image of the gray-haired, orthopedic shoe wearing little old lady?  That, I'm not.

But in this era of blended and non-traditional families, where nine-year-olds like my daughter become elementary school aunts and uncles, maybe it's time to think of some new words to describe these relationships.  So I'm open to suggestions!

But the first one of you to call me grandma is going to be SO sorry!

When Joanne isn't struggling with the intricacies of modern family relationships, she's usually embracing her wonky side at her blog, , as well as The Huffington Post & BlogHer, where she's a contributing editor for News & Politics.

Original 50-something Moms post.