Thursday, April 28, 2011

How I Got My Name (A Just So Story)

My name is "LaLa."

It is a name bestowed upon me by my 1 year-old grandson, Charlie. No one knows how the word “grandma” morphed into the lovely name of “LaLa,” but I consider it nothing less than a miracle!
Charlie at the duck pond.
It all started a couple of years ago when my eldest child announced that she was engaged to be married. At the time, we were all excitement and joy! Her fiance was a handsome blonde man who had captured her heart with his gentle, brilliant blue eyes. Their wedding was beautiful. At the reception, my daughter's last dance with her daddy made me cry with tears of joy and pride. It seemed I had successfully raised one of my four little chicks and off I was sending her out of the nest. “Fly! Little Bird, Fly!” And off she flew!
We all looked good in coral.

All seemed right in the world.

Seven months later came the shocking news. News that would alter my life and identity forever. “Mom, guess what?!!?” “We're going to have a baby!”

I didn't quite understand at first. A baby! Well. That's nice. How sweet. Then she continued.


Huh? What? A what?!!?

No. no. no. no. no. no. no. That was NOT in the contract! It was all fine and good that you wanted to get married. You looked beautiful in your wedding dress. I got to be the mother of the bride and have this big party where we invited all our friends. It was great. We all looked good in coral.

But I am NOT ready to be a grandma. can't even SAY the word. I am still young. Very, very young. Friends of mine are still having babies of their own. I am NOT grandma material. I'm just not old enough!

My husband Scott couldn't say his word, either. He called it “the G word.” I think it's possible that elementary children are sent to the principal's office for saying it.

For a while, I thought perhaps another rendition of the word would be better. I tried out every possibility. “Nana?” “Grandmama?” The formal “Grandmother?” A very OLD friend of mine had grandchildren that called her “Honey.” Maybe that would work. But we had a dog named “Honey” when I was a kid. And that memory wasn't helping. “Granny?” “Nanny?” Finally I stated that “Nanny, nanny boo boo” sounded best and fit with how the G word made me feel! How ever was I going to survive?

Well, survive I did. Through the horribly difficult pregnancy, (learning a new term for my daughter's condition, “Hyperemesis Gravidarum.” ) Through the life-threatening birth. (postpartum hemorrhage) Through the sweet young family moving in with us into our basement. Through babysitting while my daughter finished her delayed last semester of college. Through her husband going away for 6 months of military training.  Through postpartum depression.  Hers and mine! (Can I even claim that?)

It was such a trying time that I hardly even noticed people calling me grandma. It just became second nature. And Charlie was such a sweet and darling baby, that it seemed only a small pitance of my self-image to pay for the royal honor of being related so closely to my sweet grandson!
My daughter's graduation day.

Perhaps God was watching. Perhaps He saw my efforts and wanted to reward me. Perhaps Charlie just couldn't hear properly. Maybe he had a developing speech impediment. Or a glitch in his brain. (He is learning all other words without a glitch, though.) Whatever the glorious reason, last month after I was just getting my mother settled in the house across the street, Charlie started calling me “LaLa.” And it sounded like heaven. Truly.

So LaLa is my name.

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