Titles of Respect

I tend to think a lot.  All day long thoughts will just pop into my head and while I realize this is normal for most people, I tend to think about those random thoughts for long periods of time.  I start to focus on them.  I have discussions with myself while I am in the shower.  For example, the other day I was thinking about family.

Specifically I was thinking about how we call some people by different titles.  Each family is unique in this sort of thing.  In my family we have always called our grandparents Pap and Gram.  All of them are known by those titles.  When we want to differentiate to each other we may say “Pap Sonny and Gram Harriet vs. Pap Croyle (never Pap Charlie, is that odd?) and Grandma Ann (I think it has to do with her name starting with an “a” that we never just say Gram Ann, it does not roll off the tongue, yet when we are speaking to her, we just say “hey gram.”)

Everyone I know has a different title they use to refer to their grandparents:  MiMa, MiMi, Gammy, GamGam, PapPap, Grandpa, PopPop, etc.  And it turns out that most of the time, people just arbitrarily decide that is what they want to be called (or in some cases a name may stick because a child is unable to say something correctly).  I have even heard of grandparents requesting kids call them by a different name.  My mind would have been blown at a young age if my Gram said “Josh, please refer to me as Nǎinai.  Especially since none of us are Chinese.

I am always confused by the fact that Lindsey refers to her one aunt by just her first name.  They are very close and she said that she has never really called her Aunt Barb or anything like that.  Here comes the inconsistency though, Barbara is Lindsey’s mom’s sister.  Lindsey calls her mom’s brother Uncle Ron.  Explain that one?  I asked her and she had a very odd reasoning, but it made sense in it’s own way.

I asked her if she had anyone in the family that was a stickler for that sort of thing and she really did not remember anyone forcing them to call people Aunt or Uncle.  I have someone in my family like that, so at a very early age, we all were corrected and told that you call these people aunt or uncle.  And in some cases, when we were really little, we were told that people were to be called that even when they were not actually aunts and uncles.  I guess it was a term of respect.  To this day I still call some of these people by those titles.  Very odd.

There comes a point though where it becomes almost impossible to adopt one of these titles and start using it.  For example, my one aunt got married when I was six (the only wedding I have ever been in) and I had no problem calling her husband Uncle Mark (although, I may have called him that before the wedding anyway because I was a bit of an idiot).

“Hello, Josh?  You are being ridiculous.”

When I was older, I think a senior in high school, my Aunt Lori married James.  I had known him for a few years while they dated and he had always been James to me.  One of my other aunts tried to tell us that we had to refer to him as Uncle James now.  It seemed insane.  I may have even told Aunt Lori and James (or maybe just James) that is was nothing disrespectful, it just seemed weird.

Now I am sure at this point that you are wondering where this thought was going or where it stemmed from.  Allow me to explain.  I was visiting my mom, brother, his fiancee and her daughter the other day.  She (Aubrey that is) calls me Josh.  Obviously.  What else would she call me?  That is my name.

This is where the thinking starts.  What if Adam and Lora have a kid?  I would guess that kid would call me Uncle Josh (hell, Adam refers to me as Uncle Josh when he talks to his dog, Jackson).  But then, how confusing would that be for little AL (Adam+Lora) when his older sister just calls me Josh?

I do not want to make little AL’s life any harder for him (or her) and have decided that all kids under the age of 25 should now refer to me by my full title:  Lord Joshua of Croyle Township.  I suppose Lord Josh would suffice at informal gatherings.

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