Sunday, March 24, 2013

Just call me "Maw Maw"...

Me and my daughter
My husband, Tom, and I just found out we're going to be grandparents for the first time! We are thrilled and overjoyed and excited for our daughter and her husband...and for us!!! This doesn't mean my blog will become a "grandparent" blog, but...I reserve the right to post an entire page of pictures when the bundle of joy arrives! ;)

Because words mean so much to me, what I will be called as a grandparent also means a great deal to me. It's important. Tom and I want to be "Paw Paw and Maw Maw." It's what our girls called Tom's parents, and we've always known it was what we wanted to be called when that wonderful time arrived in our lives. Believe it or not, we've discussed it many times. As you should know by now, I take words (which includes names) very seriously. To me, everything you say has meaning.

Where we come from, every grandparent has a different name. When they were little, our three girls had Mamaw (my grandmother), Grandmomma (my mom), Mimi (my stepmother), Granny (Tom's grandmother), and Maw Maw (Tom's mom). Our girls didn't have as many living grandfathers as grandmothers, but we also had different names for each of them. There was never any confusion over who was who, and you didn't have to add a first or last name for our girls to know who we were going to visit.

Now, if you're wondering how we can be Paw Paw and Maw Maw when Tom's parents are also called that, I should tell you that Tom's dad passed away a few years ago. For Tom, it is a way to honor his dad's memory to be called Paw Paw. For me, I'll be sharing Maw Maw with Tom's mom,...and I presented this dilemma to our pregnant daughter who assured me it would not be a problem because of distance.

You see, when our girls were little, all the grandparents lived close to us. Our girls saw all of them quite frequently. When we moved to Texas some years ago, we left all of our extended family back in North Carolina. The only grandparents that live close to my daughter and her husband, and will see the child on a regular basis, are his parents and us.

Besides all that, I like being called the same name as Tom's mom for a good reason. She's always been the one who marches to the beat of her own drum. She and I have always had that in common. It's something I've always liked about her...and myself. In my book, Maw Maw means "different" and I like different.

All that being said, you can imagine how offended I was last night when I went into a gift shop and couldn't find a charm that said "Maw Maw." They had Nana, Nene, Grandma, Grandmother, Gigi, G-ma, Mamaw, Memaw, and Mimi,...but I wasn't looking for any of those. I decided to look up the term on the internet and found this blog. If you have the time, it's worth the read and will make you laugh a bit. If you're Southern, you'll get it. If you're not, you'll get an education.

I like a good challenge, you know, where you take the best of something old and make it better...and redefine what people think about it. It is time to redefine the South's definition of Maw Maw. It actually IS possible to be a loving grandmother who knows how to enjoy her own life without neglecting her family. I've always told people, "Don't try to put a label on me because just when you think you've got me figured out, I'll surprise you." Well, I will wear the "Maw Maw" label proudly, but I'll redefine what it means on a daily basis. (This is going to be fun!)

By the way, I was singing "I'm bringing Maw Maw back" to a Justin Timberlake tune last night...'cause that's how I roll! ;-)

Our son-in-law and daughter announce they're expecting a baby!


  1. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! I am not sure how I missed this post, but Congratulations! I can't completely speak about Tom, but I have faith in saying you two will be the most AWESOME GRANDPARENTS!! Tell Chambley I said Congratulations! I look forward to hearing "The Adventures of Maw Maw." I also have a different name for all of my grandparents growing up, and for much the same reasons as you gave! However, my Mamaw is now being called Grandma Debbie (by her choice) with the new and younger generation and it is just weird. :P

    BTW, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article on "Maw Maw's." It was funny, enlightening, and a bit sad.

    1. Thank you, Laura!!! Since I wrote this I've had several people to share with me how the grandparent names go in their families - some they like, some they don't. They all seem to agree, though, that there should be more Maw Maws in the world. I am so very happy to, at least, add one more! :-D

  2. I just became a MawMaw 4 months ago. I chose the name because it is different. Not common here in SE Ohio.

    1. Congratulations on becoming a MawMaw! I'm SO excited for you! I love that you chose your grandparent name because it's different! Our sweet grandson is now 7 years old, and I'm still the only MawMaw I know around here. And no matter how it may sound to anyone else, it is music to my ears when my four (yes, now we have four!) grandchildren call out for "MawMaw" when they see me. :)