What is life? Life is good, life is bad, life is surprising, life is challenging.
As for the meaning of life? Life is waking up every morning and being grateful that you can get out of bed and walk to the bathroom unassisted. Or even remember where the bathroom is. Okay, that isn’t the actual meaning of life, but it is a very important aspect of it.
If this past year has taught me anything, it is that gratitude comes in all shapes and sizes. And that there is always good and always bad, and that is just the way it is. Fortunately, this past week was, thank God, a good one.
Son #2 and DIL #2, who moved to Israel last year on my birthday (which I really do not recommend as a birthday gift. Even an expired calendar would be a more thoughtful present), have made up for that by giving me, thank God, GD #2. She was born in Israel last Thursday morning, Israel time, but still Wednesday in America. So does that mean her birthday is February 8 or February 9? (Yes, I know it means that it is February 9 — but the only birthday my kids will celebrate is the 18th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat. Boy, am I shtark…)
I was kind of hoping for February 3 because then the birthdate would have been 2/3/23…so very cool. But we are over the moon with 2/9/23.
After being a patient in my wonderful dad’s obstetrics practice, I am fully aware that I really did get the best care. I could ask any question, any time, anywhere, and about anything. It was really comforting. I was allowed to gain oodles of weight with little physician involvement, and everyone in labor and delivery at the hospital knew who I was. When DIL #1 had Strudel, she also, thank God, had wonderful care. Her father also is a physician, so I am sure she was able to ask him about any questions or concerns.
Dil #2 is in a foreign country. Now I know it is Israel, our homeland. I know there are minyans every 30 minutes and kosher food — but it still is Israel and my kids are still very much American. They had hired a doula to help them through the labor process because, apparently, you end up never knowing which doctor is delivering you. So Dil #2 felt better about having someone with her throughout the whole lovely process of birthing a human.
When we got the call that Dil #2 was in labor, it sounded like things were going to move quickly. Which brought me back to when I was in labor with Son #1 and I was “stuck” at eight centimeters for about eight hours. Good times. Really good times. And yet I was hopeful. When she was 10 centimeters at 5 p.m., I was sure that I was going to be able to send a bag of clothes with my wonderful neighbor. Nope, that didn’t happen. GD #2 had her own timeline, and it didn’t include making sure that she got some new clothes from Babka. And that is okay.
I refused to send anything until I knew that she was out and that she was healthy. I will just have to hope my friend who offered to take stuff next week actually will be able to take some stuff next week.
One of the first questions I got about this delicious little girl was, “What pastry is she going to be called?” Well, I thought a lot about this. My friend and nightly walking partner was sold on Bamba. This does makes sense, because it sounds Israeli and is a lovely snack. But I thought about it, and I realized that since she isn’t named after my dad, I wanted her pastry name to be my dad’s favorite. So, for all of my readers — the ones who like me and the ones who don’t — I would like to introduce you to Danish.
Danish doesn’t sound Israeli, but my dad always loved a good danish. Cherry, apple, or cheese. Delicious. So my bracha to this little miracle is twofold. First, may you be as kind, patient, and strong as your namesake — my father-in-law’s mother — and may you be as sweet as the danish that your pa loved so very much.
Because he would have loved you even more.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is going to be celebrating 10 years as a columnist — six years at this wonderful paper and four years somewhere else. Here is hoping that she is blessed with the ability to keep making you laugh or chuckle for at least another 10 to 20 more…