This will be the last column focused around the joy and excitement of the arrival of Gd #1 for a little while.
I was on the phone with Meghan Markle a few days ago, comparing the reactions to the birth of her little Lili and the birth of my first granddaughter, and to be quite honest, Dil #1 produced quite an adorable child. I told Meghan to stop sending me pictures, because there is just no comparison. I don’t care how many of the photos have her baby dressed in the crown jewels — you just cannot compare! Those royals can be so narcissistic…. I finally just said to her, “Listen Meghan, if Lili wants to join our playgroup, she needs to bring her own tehillim because we can’t just go lending them out to just anybody.” I hope she got the hint.
Truth is, Lili does have a much better security entourage, so I guess you take the good with the bad. Of course once she hears there is a dress code among oreos, the whole friendship might fall to pieces, but who knows.
When the kids first told us that we were going to become, gasp, grandparents, they did it in a card that said “Nana” on it. So that got us discussing what we would want to be called. It used to be pretty simple. Grandma and Grandpa. Bubby and Zeidy. Saba and Savta. I had a Mama and a Papa. And these days, there are Mimis and Deedees and Pop-Pops and just plan Pops or Pas. The possibilities are endless. Since I still haven’t established what Dil #1 should call me (yes, we all know that I am a difficult person, but whatever) the topic of “what should we call you” reached a new level. Dil #1’s mom is an established Savta, so that was off the table. With a name like Banji, I thought that Grandma was a little too run of the mill, so, like with most things, I had to make this decision more challenging than it needed to be. But then, Dil #1 told me that her mom’s friend was called Babka. Hmm, Babka — that was perfect. To most people, a babka is a type of cake. It comes in chocolate and cinnamon, and other flavors if you are a creative baker. And though when people think of me, they don’t think cake — they might think, “that woman is driving me to eat a whole cake” or “it looks like that lady has eaten too much cake” — I thought it was perfect. I emailed Dil #1’s mom’s friend and asked for the back story on babka. Don’t worry, I knew who this person was, because I grew up next door to her parents in Fair Lawn. She explained to me how she got to Babka (don’t know if I have permission to share that, but it was a pretty simple, non-controversial explanation), I asked if it was okay if I used it, she said of course — and a new Babka was born.
People have started asking me what Gd #1 is going to call me and when I say “Babka,” I usually get a laugh, followed by a “No, you’re kidding.” I never kid about cake. When someone responded with a snarky “Figures you would be called something different,” I was happy to retort that I did not make babka up. That’ll show her. (Sorry, I am working on becoming a better person, but it is a slow process.)
As for Husband #1, he is going by Papa because his maternal grandfather was his papa. A friend had suggested that he try Papka because then we would be Babka and Papka, but I guess that was too much for him. So there you have it. Now the mystery of what Husband #1 and I are being called has been made clear, I am sure you were all waiting with great anticipation for the big reveal.
Though, thinking about, I forgot to ask Meghan what Lili was calling her mother, but I cannot imagine that it is Babka (or Bubby or Savta for that matter, but you never know).
And there you have it. I look forward to oversharing many more stories with you in the future, and I hope that you will enjoy reading them. Signing off for now, wishing all of you a healthy and enjoyable summer. See ya next week!
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is looking forward to hearing screams of joy when all the kids leave for sleepaway camp in a few weeks.