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Oma, Omi, Omama short for Großmutter or Großmama, are the names that are given to Grandmothers in German speaking countries, and I have over the years found out that people with a German grandmother, or one of German origin tend to call her “Oma” too. The term Oma is often used to describe an elderly woman in Germany, who is probably more of a great-grandmother (Uroma) than a grandmother age wise. As an example: my mother, when one day marked by tiredness thought to herself that she was like an Oma, and then right away that she is one. In her imagination pictured an elderly lady of at least 85.

I grew up with my two Omas, and was devastated when one of them died too young of a cancer. The relationship one has with their grandmothers and grandfathers are so enriching. With my Oma I did many cultural things. We visited churches to see their architecture, and decoration. We read poetry together and analysed it, we visited the houses of German writers such as Goethe and Schiller. But we also cooked and played games.

Today, I am happy to see that my daughter is developing a close relationship with my mother. It is so different from a parent child relationship. My little one is lucky, she has all of her Omas and Opas, with two of them living 200 meters up the street.

I do hope that one day (but not in the near future) someone will call me “Oma Solveig”. I suppose that is a side effect of motherhood.

What do you think about grandparent-grand child relationships? How do/did you enjoy yours? How do you observe those of others?

Written by Solveig Werner