Today’s Wall Street Journal did a long overdue piece on boomer’s reluctance to age themselves by rejecting the labels of grandma and grandpa, adopting names like “Lefty” and “Glamma” to stay cool AKA young. For all the bromides about boomers, “loving who they’ve grown to be”, it’s also a big time Half Truth. The Whole Truth is that we like the wisdom, we hate the wrinkles, the wizened and anything wreaking of ‘old.’
I’d also say this is nothing new. My own Dad has been Papa Ray rather than Grandpop for the past 20 years. (A man in the article who had chosen Papa Doc on the other hand, needs his head examined.) My young sister in law goes by GiGi to her grandkids and my brother in law, as Newsh, a nickname from his teens. And, though proud to be an aunt, I cringe when people remark about my second generation of newborn nieces and nephews,” Oh, you’re a Great Aunt or a Grand Aunt now, right?” No, I’m a cool aunt. To them, I’m even just Mary Lou. (by the way, check out savvyauntie.com, a great new site that is all about cool aunt-ness!)
The bigger Whole Truth isn’t just that we don’t want to be pegged as old. It’s that we want to be seen as the BFF’s of our grandchildren and grand anything’s. We like to fulfill their dreams, give great gifts and be the people they love to visit. (And as my husband Joe always says of our love and generosity, “maybe one of them will come to visit in the nursing home.”). Whoops, I mean, the spa.
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