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?
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!