What’s In a Name?


My grandparents with their first grandchild, my cousin Pamela

She called him Daddy for as long as I knew her. My grandfather’s name was William, and people called him Bill, but to my grandmother, he was forever “Daddy.” Long after my mother and her brother grew up and had families of their own, my grandmother continued with that name for my grandfather.

My niece is due to have her first child in a couple of months. She and our nephew-in-law have yet to choose a name, preferring to wait until the actual birth to see “what name fits him,” as they explained it.  We picked out names for our three kids months before they were born, and they just grew into them.

My brother and sister-in-law will soon have to choose what they want to be called by their first grandchild. Now those are important names! So important, in fact, I may stop calling them by their given names and start calling them by their new grandparental status names. Those are names you never tire of hearing.

My parents named me Susan, but my father’s mother called me Susie, as did many of my friends in college. To my husband I was Susie before we had children. Then I became Mommy. For a while after the children left home, he still called me Mommy. Long habits are hard to break.

My husband and I rarely call each other by our given names unless we are referring to each other in a conversation with other people. In fact, on the rare occasion my husband actually calls me Susan, I think I must be in trouble. We usually call each other Sweetheart, Darling, or Honey. My husband even calls me Mrs. Beautiful.

We start out with one name, but we become another or many others in the course of our lives. And it seems the ones we’re given later in life are the ones we love hearing the most.

About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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41 Responses to What’s In a Name?

  1. There’s so much to a name! 🙂

  2. yen says:

    Love the Mrs. Beautiful, Susan! Fits you!;)

  3. This is so sweet! I love pet names, too. My husband is MEH on my blog (My Engineer Husband), but I don’t call him that in person. My husband and I call one another by longstanding nicknames, but our parents were only ever “Grandma” and “Grandpa” to our kids.

    • Coming East says:

      I don’t know why we spend so much time thinking of the perfect names for our children, Julia, because they never seem to use them the way we picked them out. I guess they look good for the family Bible. Then, when the kids read them years down the road, they can say, “Irving was Gramps’s real name? I thought it was just Gramps.”

  4. Huffygirl says:

    You’re a lucky one Mrs. Beautiful!

  5. I know a grandma who was asked by her children what she would like the little ones to call her. Her answer? “Call me anything you like, but call me often!”

  6. OK–Mrs. Beautiful–I’m envious! You need to sub-title your wordpress site, “Mrs. Beautiful’s Blog!”
    William was my father’s name, and my son’s middle name. Love it!

  7. pattisj says:

    Fun post, Susan. A family member used to say it didn’t matter what he was called, as long as it wasn’t late to dinner! We are Mockit and Bap, so named by our first granddaughter. I thought maybe she’d outgrow it, but it stuck. Our grandson has recently taken to calling me MockitBird. 🙂 This month is so busy, maybe we’ll get to do some exploring in January. Went outlet shopping earlier this week, in Williamsburg. Does that interest you?

    • Coming East says:

      Love the names, Patti. Quite original! I love shopping at the outlets, but I have exhausted my Christmas money and then some, so I won’t be buying anything for awhile. I always like to go along for the ride, though. January will be a good time for exploring. Count me in!

  8. Al says:

    This neat post really struck some familiar chords with a lot of people, Susan! Our first granddaughter picked our names (Nonny and Poppy). I don’ even remember how they came about.

    As for the pet names for each other, we’ve used several over the years, but when I hear VICTOR! It means trouble and I generally run the other way.

  9. Robin says:

    We got stuck with our Grandma and Grandpa names by my daughter-in-law (I’ll say no more on that subject) rather than what we prefer. I’m hoping to change that as my granddaughters get older, but… it really won’t matter in the end. I love them no matter what they call me. 😀
    I had to chuckle a little about how you think you’re in trouble when your husband calls you by your first name. I have a similar experience/feeling when my husband calls me Robin. In addition to the usual terms of endearment, he is the only person on earth I allow to shorten my name to Rob. My mother was so adamant about people not calling me Rob that it became habit to tell people, “My name is Robin, not Rob.” But for some reason, I love it when my husband calls me Rob. It just sounds good coming from him.

    • Coming East says:

      Love the comment about your husband calling you Rob, Robin. My best friend used to always call me Sue instead of Susan. She was the only one who could get away with it. I never minded when she called me that. I fact, I kind of liked it because she was the only one who used that nickname. For some reason, she’s been calling me Susan for past dozen years or so. What would you like your grandparent names to be?

  10. E.C. says:

    We referred to ourselves as Grandmama and Grandpa, but let our Grandson choose the names he wanted to call us and so did his other grandparents. He went through a few as his speech matured. He settled on Grandma for me and Pa for grandpa.
    My husband and I are like you and your Mr, we’ve always referred to each other in pet names, honey and sweetheart being our favorites.
    Fun post. 🙂

  11. My family always used given names, but when I married my husband I found out that his father had given each of his 4 boys nicknames….. Boone (Daniel) Jet (James- he was always in a hurry) Jug (my husband, named after the cartoon character, Jughead) and Pisswilly (Randy) not ready to share that story in public!
    My husband’s nickname in High School was Squeak (because he was so “tight” he squeaked.
    Love this post.
    My favorite uncle called me “Lucky Ruth” always.

  12. That is a beautiful, touching story. I call my wife, “Luv” and she calls me “Dad.” So far my son has not ask us yet why her mom always calls me dad. Names I think make everything more endearing and warm. Happy Holidays to you and your family.

  13. Shary Hover says:

    I usually call my husband sweet pea or sugar pie. He doesn’t mind the names, but he does get a little miffed when I use the same endearments for the dog. 🙂

  14. What a great post! My kids also waited until the baby was born to name the baby. In fact he was home before he was named. The morning after his birth my daughter came out and introduced me to my grandson properly, that is how I found out his name. We are still waiting to find out what we will be called by our grandson. I refer to myself as Grammy or Grandma, but I have said if he chooses to call me doodie head I would be quite content with that. Such a great post. DAF

  15. dorannrule says:

    What a great post Susan! And so true. My own name has morphed from Dorothy to Dorfy to Dot to Dottie to Dork to Dor! Husband calles me “Babe” and he is William except to me he’s “Billy.” Who are we really? 🙂

  16. Dianna says:

    Oh, I love this post today! My friend just became a grandmother in June, and she’s to be “Nana” to her grandson. One of the reasons I chose “Marshall” for my son’s name was because there was no nickname. Guess what? I call him “Marsh” most of the time! And my hubby calls me “DB”; he knew me when my first husband and I were married, and those became my initials. He’s called me that since 1976…..

    • Coming East says:

      I don’t know why we spend so much time picking out the perfect name for our children, Dianna, because we seldom call them by that name. Our Benjamin used to be Bo when he was very little, and now he is always Ben. Matthew is Matt, and Emily is Ems.

  17. Great post. I call Rick– Rickey or Daddy–but refer to him as Rick in my posts. My nephews called me Aunt -gette rhymes with jet. I thought it was rather funny. We have two grandsons by each daughter and to our utter amazement they practically named our grandsons the same thing–their names rhyme and differ by two letters!! What sisters they are.

    • Coming East says:

      Must get a little confusing, Georgette! When my sister-in-law had her son, she named him Michael. We had Matthew less than a year later. Then another sister-in-law said she was mad we took the two names she wanted for her first son, so when he came along, she named him Michael Matthew.

  18. I absolutely love baby names and the whole topic regarding names. I adore unique, unpopular names. I think this is due to the 5 “Brittanys” I went to school with. I like names that stand out. My all time favourite girls name, unfortunately made the top 100 this year (Aubrey), however, my other top 4 are nowhere near the top 100 – Genevieve, Seraphina, Vivienne, and Nora. I love how old fashion yet so feminine these names are.
    As for boy names I have a much harder time with. I am currently loving Henry (however it was number 57 last year), Seth, Leo, Emmett, and Rowan (row-in – not row-on haha)

    • Coming East says:

      Thanks for your comment, Julia. I have a lot of names I didn’t get to use because we only had three children. I need more kids! I like the name Sam for a little guy.

  19. It’s funny how the names stick like cement. My daughter and niece are the only female grandchildren out of 11 and they refer to my mother as Grand-mom. The boys, one day while enjoying graham crackers at my mother’s house, began giggling and started calling her Graham Cracker, yep it stuck.

  20. gaycarboys says:

    As always I had a little tear. I call my man Hunny-Bunch. Thanks Susan, Alan

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