When my daughter was little and learning to speak, she called everyone in the family by the second half of their first names. So my dad, Grandpa, was “Papa;” her dad, Daddy, was “Didi;” my mom, Grandma (who would ultimately adopt the moniker Gams) was “Mama;” and I, Mommy, was “Mimi.”
So it happened that my son had a son, and when it came time for him to call me something, we settled on Mimi.
I love my name.
I, of course, call him Ezra. His parents call him E-Z. He is wrapped in love on both sides of his large extended family. Health concerns, the press of work and other family responsibilities combined with geographical distance conspires to bring us into each other’s company just a precious few times a year.
And what a few times they are!
Already at 5 years old, Ezra knows his mind about many things. Crocodiles are the fairest of God’s creatures. Green is the best color. Alligators are NOT the same as crocodiles. And when I don’t do what he wants me to do, he says, “Mom, this Mimi is broken! You’ll have to get me another one.”
I didn’t have grandparents on either side growing up, but my kids were blessed with three intact sets of two grandparents (six people total) until deep into their adulthood. Even now, four of these wonderful adults walk the earth. What a gift!
A mere bystander, I watched the confidences, the little jokes, the candy slipped between them. How my kids kept in touch with them, how they told them things they didn’t tell me.
And as special as it was for my kids, it was just as special for my parents. “United against a common enemy,” some have characterized the bond between grandchild and grandparent, and while that was not so much my experience, I know the gentle, sweet loneliness of being “left out” because of the deep love between grandchild and grandparent.