But She Has To Have A Nickname


Bar none, my parents were the best grandparents in the universe! No joke. Seriously.  They loved their grandsons more than their own kids. Not kidding.  They adored them.  My dad was especially close to my oldest son, in part because he was able to bond with him as a newborn. My husband and I had our first son while we were in college.  It was hard. I won’t lie. And I was not good at it.  So my dad spent a lot of time with us in those early days and months and the two of them fell head over heels in love.  Soon, Andrew became “Drew Baby” and the nickname stuck.  My dad, who we called PawPaw, attached a nickname to everyone he met.  I was “LeeLee”—I hated it—but guess what I’m called now? Soon all our boys' friends had nicknames. There was “Big”, “Dumb and Ugly”, “Ashcan”, “Big Black Jon” (Drew's first college roommate was a 6'5", good looking young African American man who LOVED his nickname and PawPaw), “Big B”, and “United Kingdom” just to name a few. 

When we learned we were going to be grandparents, my initial thought was, "Oh PawPaw, you're not here to give her a nickname." We lost PawPaw in the winter of 2008 and the void is still so real.  While we awaited our granddaughter’s arrival, the topic of a tag for her came up often.  But didn't we need to see her first? Would she be a redhead like her daddy? What will they name her? Will her mama care if we give her a handle?

Finally, the moment arrived and the parents-to-be shared the precious decision of what they would name their daughter: April Lee—after both her grandmothers! Gee!  We were so excited! The first week of March quickly approached and still the conversation turned to nicknames.  My husband suggested May (since she was due in March and named April—no confusion there at all).  Someone suggested AL, but that was entirely too close to an unnamed football mascot from a rival university across the state—so no way, Jose!  My daughter-in-law's mom calls her Bug and she offered Cricket.  Her daddy is a Chick-fil-A addict so we mentioned Nugget.

April Lee entered the world on March 6th, 2018 and as we waited to meet her, I googled famous people born on this day.   And there it was, the perfect moniker for our first grand baby. They would have so much in common.  We’d search no more.  It was done. Yes, our teeny, tiny precious bundle of joy shares her birthday with Shaquille O'Neal.   We'll call her Shaq.  

Isn't it perfect, PawPaw?

Lee Rutland is a nanny/sitter for three active boys. She has two married sons of her own and a new granddaughter. Lee and her husband live in Covington, GA where she enjoys reading, walking, and yoga.