September 18, 2013 in Features

Grandma says name causing distance

Washington Post
 

Dear Carolyn: When my grandson was born, I thought it was the greatest thing, and it probably is. However, he is 8 and his parents told him it is OK to call me by my first name. I do not agree.

Also, they combined their two last names, my son and daughter-in-law, not hyphenated, as his last name.

I am a very warm person but so hurt that I have lost my closeness to my grandson. It is very hard, and I feel myself distancing my feelings toward him. My son does not feel their way is wrong.

What is in a name or a title that makes it so important? – A Lost Grandma

It’s as if someone journeyed barefoot from the corners of the earth to deliver you a sapphire, and you’re (peeved) it’s not a ruby.

If I agree to call you Grandma, will you stop being so blockheaded about one of the most precious things life has to offer?

That might be the best deal I have for you, because I am unable to comprehend the idea that a name can get in the way of a bond with a grandchild. You’re exhibiting such a low threshold for insult that you’re allowing a difference of opinion on tradition to get in the way of giving and receiving love.

There’s an apple at the base of your tree in the form of your son, who’s equally blockheaded in encouraging his son to use your first name when he knows it bothers you. (You have absolutely no say in the last name, so I encourage you to draw a smiley face on it.)

But your son can be wrong all day and it doesn’t change the fact that you can control only your decisions, not his.

So you can talk to the boy, and propose giving you a special name that only he uses. Miss Firstname, say, or Grammie Firstname, or, hmm, does he have any ideas?

Or you can decide, just decide, to get over yourself and place more value in loving and being loved than being right.

Or you can flush this love down the toilet on a technicality.

Your call.

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