They call me Mah Gah: Musings of an active Grandma


My preferred nomenclature was just plain “Grandma.” Because my name is Angie, my four daughters thought “Grangie” would be fitting. I didn’t love this one. Ultimately, my first granddaughter chose my name: “Mah Gah.” I was concerned initially that her swapping syllables from “Grandma” to “Mah Gah” might indicate early signs of dyslexia, but she’s fine. My grandson jumped on the bandwagon and here we are!

I’ve never been more excited about a season of life than I am right now!  Having my children thirty plus years ago was thrilling but frightening.  Fear of making irreparable mistakes, illness, and the never-ending battle to be “perfect mom” plagued me.  Time and experience has mellowed me.  Mistakes were made, but we learned.  Illnesses came and went, often.  And, somewhere along the way, the goal to be “perfect mom” faded as I realized loving them and giving them my imperfect best was really what it means to be a mom.  Ah, but now that I’m a Mah Gah, GAME ON!  My current roster is 3-year-old Leo and 2-year-old Vivi. Hopefully by the second week of February 2019, I’ll add two more!

Those babies are my favorite hobby and pretty much all-consuming extracurricular activity. I’m not concerned about being a “perfect grandma.”  They don’t exist. My focus is to love and cherish them dearly and imprint who I am in their lives. I do all the grandma-like things. I buy them too many everythings, feed them whatever I want (muahaha) as well as babysit, clean, and entertain them. I sing horribly, cannot sew, crochet, quilt, garden, paint or draw but, Mah Gah does have some talents that will resonate with her grandbabies….

I love dance and all forms of fitness and, because of this, I have a ton of energy to play with Leo and Vivi. My grandchildren have some built in rhythm and coordination, so they know to count on a crazy dance and a rainbow of music and activities when they’re with me. Watching them move and shake and hearing them laugh at my antics lights up my world! It brings me joy to think about introducing them to my favorite sport with those adorable toddler golf clubs, which they will likely use to hurt their pets and break what they haven’t already. Mah Gah plays, so why not give them a swing?  Regardless of their interest in golf, we will connect through movement and inside jokes and they’ll know I’ll always be their biggest fan!

Look at my cuties…

How do you (or will you) play with your grandchildren?

What do they call you?

What advice can you offer us Newbies?



About Author

Angie Calli Fernandez

Recreation Fitness Program Coordinator

Angie grew up a dance and golf loving Hoosier. Duke University beckoned her to North Carolina and while she will die a devoted Blue Devil, she is proud to call the Tarheel state her home. Fitness has been Angie’s career for over 30 years and she has held multiple national certifications and taught innumerable class types and styles and personally trained all ages and sizes. Family and fun are the cornerstones in her life and she and has been blessed with 4 amazing daughters, two perfect grandsons - Leo and Pierce - and two perfect granddaughters - Viviana and Camila. Working at SAS is a dream come true for Angie and she hopefully will live out the remainder of her days spreading her love of life to her new SAS family!


  1. LOVE your blog, Angie! You are an awesome Mah Gah, of course I didn't expect anything less from you. Your grandbabies are the lucky ones! My girls call my mom Mukma. She too wanted to be "Grandma", but my oldest had other plans. She refused to call her Grandma, only "Mukma". Finally my mom resigned to it, and has since embraced it. As my mom says, she is the one and only Mukma in the world. Much the same as you are the one and only Mah Gah in the world. Enjoy every moment and congrats on the two new ones due to arrive by February! Leo and Vivi are adorbs!

  2. Hey Angie, I love your blog! I am the nurse at SAS that took your Zumba class offf site. My 3 kids called my mom mah gah and it was precious and of course my mom loved it because it was unusual. I think it fits you perfect. You are amazing and I hope to get back to taking your zumba class. I am doing Zumba with Annabelle and she is really great but she is not you. I hope to see you soon and enjoy those grandkids! Sherri

    • Angie Calli Fernandez
      Angie Calli Fernandez on

      Another Mah Gah!! Hooray! I hope that I can be there for my girls the way you are for your children and grands... you are an amazing woman and I miss your face! Thank you for reading!

  3. Oh those babies are the luckiest to have you as their Mah Gah:) love you, miss you and so grateful to know you! Your energy, love and light are gifts to your kids, grandkids and somehow you have enough to share with us, your tribe;)

  4. Love your article. It is insightful and reflects your journey from parenthood to grandparent well.Being a grandparent is one of life's greatest joys.

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