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

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20 thoughts on “O is for Oma – A to Z Challenge April 2015

  1. Your Oma sounds lovely, Solveig and how great that she took you to such places. From 1965 to 1969,we lived an hour’s drive away from my Oma and Opa in Germany (my mother’s parents) and spent almost every weekend plus holidays at their home. I have wonderful memories of that time. My Oma drove a white Audi (Opa didn’t drive), and we took many road trips, especially to visit an aunt and uncle in Tyrol, Austria. Truly the “good old days”. 🙂

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    1. I am glad that you got to spend so much time with your Oma and Opa. My Oma was the driver too, my Opa has a licence but only started using the car (3 times a year at the most) after she died.
      As I was my Oma’s first grandchild and very interested in cultural things, I think she made sure to teach me as much as possible and to share as much wisdom as she could. I know that she enjoyed it a lot, and it did end up helping me in German class when we studied poetry and literature. I have the feeling she wanted me to be “intelligent”.

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  2. The Dutch use Oma and Opa too so when my oldest sister had her first child, my mom insisted on being called Oma rather than Grandma,
    By the time my children came along (the youngest in the brood), Canadianization took over and she became Grandma … except to the oldest grandchildren 🙂

    I envy people who have had the opportunity to grow up with grandparents and develop a relationship with them. Unfortunately I didn’t so I have a romantized version of life with grandparents. It sounds like yours was 🙂

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    1. I didn’t know that the Dutch use the same words, but it is understandable as the two languages do have a lot in common.
      That is too bad that you haven’t had the chance to develop a relationship with them. My grandparent’s were young when they had their children, so were my parents, and my fiancé and I are quite young too, which has helped to develop some great relationships.

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  3. This was a lovely post Solveig. Thank you for sharing so much about your family.

    My oma died eight years ago and I miss her terribly every day. She and my grandfather were amazing people and the world hasn’t been the same without them.

    Good luck with the rest of the challenge 🙂

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    1. Thank you David for your nice comment.
      I can relate to your loss. Losing a grandparent, especially when we’ve had the chance to build up a proper relationship with them is devastating. I hope that you cherish all of those memories, that you write them down. I wrote a bit about my grandmother in the past, and I think it helps ease the pain.

      Thank you, I have to go check out your blog, good luck with the challenge!

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  4. What a great post! It seems like you had a great relationship with your Oma. I never got to enjoy my grandparents since we moved to California but the little memories I have of them are still so vivid. I love how my parents give their full attention to my daughters. It’s so different from when we were growing up, but I don’t mind it. 🙂

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    1. Thank you Lrod, I think you like all my posts 🙂
      You should write down those vivid memories, to not forget them and to pass them on to your daughters.
      Oh the grandparent grandchild relationship is so different from parent child relationship, there are all sorts of important rules from the past that are forgotten…

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      1. All your posts are great and very interesting 😃 I’ve tried my best to write down many memories of my daughters but sometimes I forget. I really have to get their baby books out to fill them up with new moments 😃

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  5. I only had one grandparent, and now my daughter has only one grandparent. I almost feel bad for my dad because it’s a lot of responsibility. Many of my memories of my grandmother are really positive, and I was lucky to get to spend a lot of time with her when I was a kid. I don’t think my daughter will get to have the same kind of relationship with her grandfather (we call him Papa), and that makes me sad.

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    1. Oh I am sorry to hear that you think your daughter won’t have the same kind of relationship with your dad. I hope that she will have a special relationship with her papa.
      Still I am glad that you made the most of your relationship with your grandmother. Cherish those memories, for you and your daughter.

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  6. Although my mother’s mother could be strict, especially when she was living with us – expecting the grandchildren to speak Spanish fluently, as she was Chilean – I still have fond memories from when she was alive. My maternal grandfather died before I was born. My father’s mother was more involved with us in a more encouraging way, but that grandfather was distant and strict.

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    1. There are those grandmothers scared that the language will be lost, do you still speak Spanish?
      I am glad that you have fond memories of your grandmother. Over time I have come to realise that those of us who have been able/ are able to enjoy our grandparents are really lucky.

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