(And I’m not talking about Mariah Carey.)
When I was a kid, it seemed like everyone called their grandparents some slight variation of Grandma and Grandpa. Maybe it was Grammy and Grampy or sometimes Nana and Papa or even Ma and Pa but nothing too different from that. Until I was pregnant with my first child I never gave much thought to what my children would call my parents and my husband’s parents. I guess I just assumed it would be some variation of the above. But then, at some point I came across a whole phenomenon where people would ask their parents what they wanted to be called. I’m not sure if this was always the way things were and I never realized it, or if it was something new. So, when I was pregnant with Brinley, I had the talk with my parents.
With my father (technically my step-father, but he raised me) it was a no-brainer. He would be Grampy in homage to my late grandfather. I knew the decision wouldn’t be as simple for my mother. To most, my mom is considered a young grandmother. She’s young at heart, on top of fashion and pop culture and looks amazing. So it was no surprise to me that she decided to pick something different as her grandmother name. After a little back and forth she settled on Mimi.
Before my mom chose this name, I had never heard it used as a grandmother name. When we were discussing it, my mom told me that she had a friend or something that went by Mimi and that she liked it. So it’s not that I thought it was completely original or anything. However, since becoming a mom I can’t even tell you how often I hear grandmothers referred to as Mimi. Yesterday alone I heard it twice within two hours.
The first one was at the doctors office yesterday morning. We were in the waiting room with a few other people and there was an older woman with a toddler. The toddler kept mumbling something that I couldn’t quite make out but started with ‘m’ and each time she said it the older woman would go to her. Within a few minutes Nora started yelling, “Mimi, Mimi!” I looked around thinking that maybe my mom was in the office for some reason (there are other doctors offices in the building) but didn’t spot her. I just brushed it off until I realized that she had understood the other toddler girl’s toddler-speak and that she had been calling the older woman Mimi. After we left the doctor’s office we did a little shopping. We were in the Carter’s outlet and I was inundated with adorable little girl’s fall clothing. Nora was in the stroller and Brinley was holding my hand as I got lost amidst a sea of coordinating tunic tops and leggings. Then it started again. “Mimi, Mimi!” Again, I looked around to see if my mom happened to be in the store as well, but she was not. I realized that Nora was referring to a woman who was shopping near us. She could only see the back of her and she had blonde hair like my mom. I laughed and said to Nora, “That’s not Mimi silly!” To my surprise, the woman turned around and said, “Actually, I am Mimi, just not her Mimi.”
At that point the woman and I got into a mini conversation about the evolution of Mimi and how she hears it all the time now even though she became Mimi seventeen years ago. And here I thought my mom was being original….
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