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What Should a Grandfather Be Called?

  • Monday, September 21, 2009
  • Jim Sanders
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Thirty years ago, I remember telling my dad that I wanted to make him something special for his birthday.  Something he never had before.

I simply said, “Dad, I’m going to make you a . . . grandfather . . .” 

He was a little startled at first, thinking the word “clock” or some such would immediately follow “grandfather.”  But it didn’t.  The last word of that sentence wasn’t an adjective, it was a noun!  My wife and I were expecting our first child, thus my parent’s first grandchild.

Baby Rachel RosenbergI remember that moment like it was yesterday.  And now, today, at 12:09 AM, I finally reached the same destination.  Rachel Rosenberg entered my life and made me a grandfather too.

When you think about your little girl now having her own child, there are waves of emotions which pour over.  How is it possible that little cherub who danced as a three-year-old is now old enough to be the mother of her own little one?  I shake my head, wondering how three decades sped by so quickly.  Would to God that I could relive so many of those moments!

Now I could wax eloquent about the litany of adjustments and life changes my daughter and her husband will make.  I could provide wisdom on how to train up this child in the way she should go.

But alas, this is a blog, thereby requiring a certain degree of narcissism.  Therefore, I feel the need to answer the frequently asked question:

“What do you want to be called?”

That is a difficult thing to ponder.  Do I want a trendy name, a cutesy name, a traditional name? I’ve always liked the simple, “Grandpa.” 

So I took a quick check of the Web, and I believe I may be too short-sighted.  This site has a TON of suggestions.

Before I tell you where I landed, here are a few of the rejects and why I chose otherwise (my apologies if these are part of your family):

Pampa - Reminds me of a disposable diaper

BooBoo - That would be a mistake

Grandpappy - Seems like something Walter Brennan would have been named and I don’t walk with a limp

G - Nice and short (I call my mother “M”, my sister has long been “P”), but I think I want a name

Popsi - Three reasons: Popular Science is what comes to mind, as does popsicle, and flopsi, mopsi

G-Dawg - Is anyone really called that?

Umpa - Steve Cummings, my umpire friend, would love that, I’m sure

Big Bop - Has plane crash implications

Skipper - Where’s Gilligan, Ginger, Mary Ann and the Professor?  Couldn’t do Skipper

No, I think I’ve settled on “Faux Paux” (Pronounced: Foe-Paw, though I don’t expect my little granddaughter to spell it correctly for another 10 years).   It seems fitting for someone who’s made quite a few mistakes in life. 

I'll have to wait and see.  After all, it could very well be that Rachel Rosenberg will have the ultimate say in what she calls her very proud grandfather!


I had the fear of being called Pee-Paw, or some such name...though I'm sure those who answer to that think it is cute and sweet. For the most part with our grandkids I have just been Granddad. That's fine.

But when my youngest granddaughter came along, suddenly I was Dad-O, and Judy was Mom-O. I love it. Occasionally she'll slip into the more traditional names, but for me, Dad-O is just fine.

Congratuation Jim! Since you will always be technologically inclined, even in your old age, "Pappy Tech" is a winner with me! On the other hand, I dare you to wait and see what comes naturally, "out of the mouths of babes"!

I suggest "Grandpa." I told my kids I'm a grand grandfather, so we have to keep the word "grand" in there! Just wait until they look up into your face and call you that (or whatever you decide upon). It will melt your heart!

My father loved to be called "Pop Pop" by his grandkids. Now, if you were raised in the deep south, it might be "Big Daddy."

Congratulations Jim! She's beautiful. My father liked "Pappa" but with you, I think Joe Emert is closer to the mark.

Jim... I'm surprised you're not on the next plane east to see your beautiful granddaughter for yourself -- sure you don't want to cancel Friday's "Joni and Friends®" recording? By the way, my sister Jay is labeled "G-Jay" by her grandkids. So should it be "G-Jim"?...Nah, Rachel will come up with something better than that. MANY CONGRATULATIONS!

Our ninth grandbaby came at 12:09 PM !! on 9/9/09. Whether it is grandbaby #1 or #9, they each bring their own thrill to our lives. Blessed happiness to you all. Ron has been Papa to all our grandbabies, even the 19 year old still calls him so. But I am Grandma or Grammie depending on what the "other" grandmother is. I am always so compliant !!

Hey Jim - Just heard the great news. Congratulations!

Was in Houston last week and visited my children and grandkids (six, at last count). The oldest is 18. They grow up so fast is cliche, but true.

You will cherish every moment with Rachel, whatever she calls you.

Granpa Gordon is where they landed with me.

All God's best!


Have the little princess try this...

"Oh, most excellent Grandfather...."

LOL (easy to laugh at your own wittiness...or witlessness), just kidding.....kinda.

By the way...CONGRATS!

She's squeezably beautiful, Jim. Many congrats to you and family.


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