recently sterling, jennifer & her mom made a trek 2 hours away to visit “grandma.”
“grandma” in this case is jennifer’s maternal grandmother.
our visit was just a day short of the last time i (jennifer) had actually seen my grandma… which is easy to remember ’cause i saw her last year on her birthday.
ok, so not the best picture of my grandmother… but she is smiling. instead of thinking that her eyes were closed i have chosen to believe that she was in fact gazing upon our precious son, sterling.
first let me begin by stating that my grandma has alzheimers. and even though during our 2009 visit my grandma clearly remembered and recognized me, this visit was quite different. when we entered the room and woke my grandma up my mom said “jennifer’s here to see you.” i kid you not, as my grandma gazed upon me holding sterling she asked, “which one is jennifer?” then during our entire visit my grandma went on and on about how beautiful my little girl was. i found this especially sweet since we got the same response everywhere we went in china! people can’t seem to get over how amazingly beautiful our little boy is!
though our twice annual visits were short, i will always remember them as sweet.
the naming of the grandparents
some of you may have noticed by now, we rarely do things the “typical” way. for our parents, sterling’s grandparents, we have chosen to totally confuse everyone around us by using the grandparental title (in this case, does making up words make me sound stupid or smart?) according to mandarin chinese. in truth, using these names complicates things for the “grandparents” but for sterling it makes identifying his grandparents much easier as each grandparent is called something different, actually containing within the name the association of that particular persons relation to him. for instance we call my mom “lao lao” & jarod’s mom “nai nai.” “lao lao” is the name given to the maternal grandmother while… you guessed it, “nai nai” is the name given to the paternal grandmother. only drawback to this otherwise ingenious system is the fact that it makes finding a greeting card with the correct name totally impossible!
one other minor disadvantage is trying to figure out what to call family members beyond the customary maternal/paternal grandparental connection (yes, grandparental was intentional). other than the most common form of uncle (shu shu) & aunt (ayi) we have no idea what the other name associations are. and even if we wanted to use them, the honest truth is, my brain can’t hold that much information! so for now we’re keeping it simple. sentimental mandarin names for the “grandparents.”
all the more reason for them to feel loved!