Wherefore Art Thou, ‘Grandmother’ and ‘Grandfather’?

Father’s Day has come and gone, and I wasn’t able to find an appropriate card for my grandfather.

You’d think with the volume of cards popping up everywhere from the grocery store to the local pharmacy, there’d be a good chance of finding something suitable, but no.

The problem? I don’t call my grandfather “Grandpa.” Because apparently all American grandchildren use the same word to refer to their parents’ fathers. So, lifestyle writers out there, you can go ahead and scrap the trend pieces about how grandparents today want to be called anything but “grandpa” and “grandma.”

I understand that most American grandchildren don’t actually call their grandparents “grandmother” and “grandfather,” but I think it is a respectful way to refer to mine when I can’t find a card that actually says what I do call them.

I call my grandfather “Nonno,” but I prefer buying Father’s Day or birthday cards that say “grandfather” because, while I may call him something different, geneologically speaking, he is my grandfather.

Depending on the store, I sometimes can actually find birthday cards with “Nonno” on them, but then I am limited to only one design, and that doesn’t work for an occasion that repeats annually. For Father’s Day, I’m out of luck. I spent 30 minutes staring at the cards in my local Kmart last week, mentally willing there to be a “grandfather” card the 23rd time my eyes passed over the same 15 or so cards. Accio grandfather card! No such luck. Ditto for the Hallmark-branded card section of my local grocery store.

Over the past few years, I’d fared slightly better with finding “grandmother” cards for different occasions, but now that the grandmother I bought them for is, sadly, deceased and the woman I actually do call “Grandma” is still alive, it’s much less of a problem.

In this age of rampant customization, where everything from your phone case to your cutting board is bespoke, the inability to find cards with such basic wording as “grandfather” or “grandmother” is maddening. In fact, chalk it up to over-customization in this case: I don’t want the card companies to try and guess what I actually call my grandparents; I just want cards that are simple and dignified, kind of like my grandparents. Imagine that.

Luckily, Hallmark has stepped in and offered some customizable designs to that end, but I’d like to see more solutions in actual stores. Card companies – which can be counted on to provide just the perfect cards for the coffee lover or Larry the Cable Guy fan in your life – cannot seem to get it together for those of us aren’t hip to the grandpa jive.

Until they do, it’s back to crayons and construction paper for me.

This entry was posted in Pet Peeves, Shopping and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s