What’s in a name?

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2022

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Dear Aunty Pam,


This is my first time writing you and since my kids live on the other side of the country, I’m pretty sure they won’t see this letter if you publish it. 

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I’m hoping you can offer some good words of advice because I’m at my wit’s end. My daughter is expecting her first child, and it’s going to be a little girl. Needless to say, my husband and I are delighted to become grandparents, until we learned that my daughter and her husband plan to call the child ‘Galaxy.’ At first I thought she was joking when she told me on the phone and started laughing. Then there was silence on the other end and I realized she was serious!! I tried to fix the situation by apologizing and saying I was just surprised and tried to change the subject, but I could tell she was still a little irked.


What can I do? I want to get back into my daughter’s good graces but I am horrified they would give this little girl such a crazy name and would like to talk her out of it. Just the idea of telling my friends the name is mortifying!


Help, please!!





Dear Granny,


First of all, you owe me for a new computer screen because I had just taken a sip of a highly anticipated glass of prosecco, and now it’s all over my laptop.


Of course Galaxy is a ridiculous name. Of course it is. But there is absolutely nothing you can do about this choice of name—it’s not your child and not worth eroding family relationships. I wouldn’t even bring it up—I mean, what could you possibly say? “Oh, how lovely! Maybe her name will inspire her to become an astronaut—or an exotic dancer!” 


(By the way, did you know the word, ‘exotic,’ means naked? Which means Aunty Pam is not only an exotic sleeper, but sometimes while the laundry’s being done, also an exotic cleaner. How exciting!)


If your daughter is reasonable and not enormously hormonal, she really should accept your apology. Surely she realizes people might snicker upon hearing the name—and if she doesn’t, she’s in for rather a rude shock. Perhaps send her flowers—a huge bouquet, with a note: “We’re so excited about Galaxy!!” or something like that. Try to avoid “Galaxy is out of this world!” And really, Granny, don’t sweat about being embarrassed about telling your friends the name of this child. Don’t you know it’s a grandparent’s prerogative to come up with silly nicknames for their grandkids? ‘Princess,’ ‘Kitten,’ ‘Cookie,’ —any of those will do. 


Cheers, dear!

Aunty Pam