Yes, I’m now a Granny and it is both wonderful and sobering. Our daughter Lauren and her husband Gareth welcomed Oliver into the world on Friday 18th November.
It’s quite a thing to accept – that you’re a Granny. I’m not too young, although I feel young but I’m old enough and this has brought it home and me, and my husband that we have reached another step in our journey of life.
Did you know the youngest grandmother in the UK in 2022 was only 33, when her 17 year-old gave birth. Yet I believe I can choose to be a ‘glamorous granny’ and not to reach for my slippers and hair net.
Where’s the manual? It’s been a long time since my children were babies, my oldest is 23 and my youngest just about to turn 16 – so quite a while. I wonder if it’s like riding a bike, and I’ll remember everything when I need to?
I was totally unprepared for the feelings of seeing our grandson. It’s an overwhelming feeling. The first time we were able to hold him, I didn’t want to let go. I remembered how babies are such a glorious waste of time, you can stare and marvel, listen and look and hours have passed by. However, it’s not a ‘waste’ it’s all about bonding.
This week we were able to go and visit Oliver in his own home, we took two of our children with us. Watching each of them have a cuddle with this precious bundle, their nephew, I was mesmerized. Seeing Steve holding Oliver for the first time was more emotional than I had imagined.
And seeing Lauren and Gareth as they step up as parents and embrace that future which will now be different was both awe-inspiring and caused a sigh. Being a parent is hard work, it changes your daily routine, it changes what you can and cannot do, the decisions you make around where and how you spend your time. Very quickly you start considering your child’s future and the kind of child you wish them to be. In short, the world has shifted on its axis and we can’t help them with that. It’s truly their choice now.
Now we have responsibilities as grandparents which are our’s to discover too. Quite a different role to play but one that we look forward to and hopefully can support Lauren and Gareth in the ways they want us to – and that’s the key, stepping back and letting them tell us what they do and don’t want. And being respectful of that. Offering advice if asked and not imposing on them all of the time.
According to scientists, grandparents have played a key role in the evolution of mankind. According to fossil experts, the number of grandparents shot up dramatically 30,000 years ago as people started to live longer. The number of adults seeing their 30th birthday soared.
Active grandparents help their descendants to survive, as they pass on knowledge and help to nurture their grandchildren’s lives.
Of course, we had the dilemma about what we should be called. Nanny, Nan, Grandma, Granny etc. What’s good enough for my mum, is good enough for me, so Granny it is. Also as we’re a blended family there are four sets of grandparents and that’s something which Lauren and Gareth have had to navigate.
A recent survey of British adults has found that at a national level the following names are used: Nan 33%, Grandma 32%, Nana 24%, Nanny 22%, Granny 14% and only one in ten use the term Gran.
Granny is the most loved name for Scottish grandmothers with 45% of people in Edinburgh and 31% in Glasgow, which is perfect, as Steve, my husband is Scottish by birth as well as in name!
Of course, some people choose their own unique names for their grandparents – often a family tradition.
Where does the name Granny come from?
Granny – a shortened version of Grandma, Grandmother.
Originally grand meant, of ‘a generation older than’ – first used around 1200 in Anglo-French ‘graund dame’ and ‘graund sire’ – grandmother and grandfather.
Then in mid 17th century from the name developed from grannam representing a colloquial pronunciation of grandame from French grand-mère which replaced the earlier, grandame.
Then there is the extension of the meaning to corresponding relationships of descent ‘ a generation younger than’ – grandson, granddaughter used in Elizabethan times.
So here we are Granny Fiona and Grandad Steve. And of course, Oliver will, I’m sure make up his own names over time given that my name is quite difficult for a toddler to master. Lauren called me ‘Ona’ for many years herself.
Regardless, a new chapter of our lives has begun. And we’re very grateful.