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Call Me Daideo

Guest post written by Jim Joseph, author of “Out and About Dad

Spoiler Alert … never did I ever think it would be possible for me to become a grandfather. I mean that’s just not in the cards for gay men, right?!?


“Are you sitting down,” my daughter said to us when she called one Saturday morning about a year ago.

She and her husband had planned to come visit us in New York City from the town they live in about an hour and a half away, but she wasn’t feeling good. Understood. Turns out she wasn’t feeling good because she was in her first trimester, pregnant with their first baby.

“I’m pregnant,” she blurted out.

Although I knew the day would likely come, I thought the day would never come. She talked about having children since she was a child, although I think the reality of her originally wanting six kids has since gotten a reality check! So, it’s not like I wasn’t expecting it on some level but at the same time it struck me how for so many gay men the idea of being a grandfather is such a distant thought. Particularly for many of the gay men who were coming out when I did some twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five-ish years ago. 

Most didn’t have children back then, so the thought of grandchildren didn’t even enter the mind. Not to mention that back there weren’t even very many older gay men because of the AIDS crisis.

Yet here I am, now the proud grandfather to this gorgeous little baby boy who just turned three months at the end of the holiday season.

Jim with his grandson

None of this magic is lost on me, nor my husband. It’s merely a dream for so many, yet here it is our reality. And for all the new gay fathers, it just might be your reality someday too. How amazing is that!

The most frequently asked question: what’s your grandfather name? Took me off guard at first as I hadn’t even thought about it. But there’s no way I’m going to be Granddad or Grandpa; it just doesn’t fit me for me. Not PaPa either because that’s my dad’s name. My husband and I just couldn’t decide for the longest time, even after the baby was born. Nothing seemed to match us. Despite lots of suggestions from lots of our friends, we just could not land. 

Great problem to have!

I am a marketer and brand strategist by day, so I decided that we needed a strategy to pick our names. “How would I approach this at work,” I asked myself.

Let’s start with the family’s heritage: we’ve got a massive mix of Lebanese, Irish, German, Italian, Puerto Rican, and Cuban in our extended family. Lots of heritage grandfather names to choose from! For my husband and for me, we started with our own nationalities to pick our grandfather names.  

My husband is predominantly of German and Swiss decent and that grandfather name is Opa … he loved it. Christopher is now Opa.

I’m part Lebanese, and grandfather in Arabic is “Jaddi,” and for many it’s very hard to pronounce. For a baby even harder so I’m not taking the chance of what he will come up with.

Jim’s daughter and his son (holding his nephew)

I’m also Irish so I looked that up … grandfather is “Daideo” and it has many pronunciations depending on the dialect. Some say “Dadj-yo,” I’m told that some say “Day-yo,” and I’m told some say “Day-d-o.” I’m going with that!

Daideo … “day-d-o.” Sold.

Great problem solved!

Christopher and Jim are now Opa and Daideo. But at the end of the day, the baby will likely decide what to call us (along with any babies that may come after him). And I am just fine with that. Just call me.

None of this magic is lost on me, given our history as a gay community and all that we’ve gone through. It’s magical that I’m even in this position in my life.

When we met the baby for the first time, it was just that … magical. I marveled not only at him, but at how great my daughter and son-in-law were handling it all. It’s not easy adjusting and caring for a newborn (I remember each time only too well), but they are holding their own. And he is just beautiful, of course. 

As a gay father or any kind of father or any kind of parent, it’s just absolutely life at its finest to see your children thrive and be happy and tackle the challenges that make life, well, life. I think it’s even richer as a gay man knowing how far our community has come.

Let’s not go backwards.

To the new generation … not sure I ever thought I’d see the day back in the day.