My Favorite Words

I love words.  

Everyday words are okay, but I like the big ones–not the big pretentious ones, like pretentious–but those words that add just a little extra to what I’m saying.  I enjoy telling my students that they’re loquacious, then telling them what the word means.  I get the same kick out of magnanimous, and really enjoy using it as a compliment. Okay, sometimes I’ll use pretentious, too.

Despite what I said just a few sentences ago, some of my absolute favorites are words that I hear a lot.  Actually, those are the words I can’t get enough of: “I love you,” and, “Hi, honey, you’re home” (family joke), are near the top of my list.  

I love hearing my wife say my name.  I read somewhere that we all like hearing a loved one saying our name, and I believe it.

One of my all-time favorites, though?  

“Grandpa.”

I absolutely can’t get enough of it, and I sometimes chuckle at the memories that go with the word.

I was born and raised in a small town in southwest Ohio, and almost everyone had a grandpa or two, at least.  I wasn’t even aware of the fact that in other places kids had “Pops,” “Paps,” or “Pawpaws.” I didn’t know about “Big Daddy,” “Pop Pop,” “P-Paw,” or “Papap.”  No one I knew had a “Granddaddy,” “G-Dad,” or even “Pa.”  

No, everyone–at least everyone I knew–who had a male grandparent had a “grandpa.”

Now I live in a different region of the United States, one with lots of different names for grandfathers.  When my daughter became pregnant with her first child, several people asked me what I wanted to be called. That was easy: “Grandpa.”

“The kids aren’t going to be able to pronounce that,” I was told more times than not.  I was incredulous. That’s another one of my favorite words, by the way.

I developed a joke about it, saying those kids had better learn it if they wanted Christmas presents.  And they did.

This morning as I walked out of the front door to greet them, neither of my two granddaughters just said it, rather, they actually sang it out!  I listened with my smile beaming as I heard, “Graaandpa!”  When they say it that way, stretching out the first syllable, I love it even more. 

In case you’re wondering, they do indeed get Christmas presents.  Every year!

 

6 Comments

  1. I grew up in the south, and the variety of names for grandmother and grandfather is really quite extraordinary! I love your description of the way your granddaughters sing out your name: I could just hear it from reading your description.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Riparian is great. Crepuscular is another one of my favorites. My environmental ed friends and I use it jokingly for all sorts of things! Thank you for your comment–I appreciate your crepuscularity! 😉

      Like

  2. I grew up in Utah, and everyone has grandpas there! When I moved to New Jersey and found out that there are so many names for the male grandparent I was surprised. Here in Ontario there are even more. My children have a grandpa, a papa, and a rara (my niece, who is the oldest of the grandchildren couldn’t say grandpa so he became Rara!)

    Liked by 1 person

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