Getting to spend time with the sweetest, cutest, most darling new addition to the family is a deeply joyful recent experience.
But among the size zero babygros and teeny wee socks, the big white elephant I've been trying to ignore is prowling – and this time, he won't leave until he's acknowledged.
And so, reluctantly, the question has to be asked. And answered. Am I a great aunty, or a grand?
Neither sounds particularly appealing, but the pedants (OK, pedant) among my lot insists just because my sister is the baby's grandmother it doesn't follow that I can get away with being his grand-aunt (the term I prefer; it suits my literary pretensions). Said pedant delights in telling me a simple genealogical calculation means I'm stuck with the moniker great aunt. For life.
The dual spectres of Miss Havisham and Lady Bracknell taunt me – I imagine them as typical great aunts – and I fear all I'll be good for is wandering around, lifting things up and exclaiming "A nappy?" in censorious Wilde-like tones.
Grand aunt sounds cool, plain aunt even cooler; it seems to me great aunts have no definite purpose, except to carry about unwelcome crone-like connotations. Cue self-pity and an unaccustomed desire to stay in of an evening by the fire.
But then, a eureka moment. Along comes a text from a bright young thing, who gaily greets me as Graunty. Relief comes flooding in, and suddenly I feel jaunty, filled with conviction that a graunty can, after all, relate to a third generation without losing face. Trust a young person to come up with such a kindly solution, a gift that trips off the tongue like a gazelle.
Yep, I'm happy with being a Graunty. As for the pedant, all I can say is I'm glad I'm not the Gruncle.
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