(Editor’s note: The following is the first place winner of the Second Annual JAA Essay Contest, which was open to students in grades 5, 6 and 7. Students from Hillel Academy, Yeshiva Schools and Community Day School submitted entries. The topic was “Spending Holidays with Bubbe and Zeidy or a Senior Friend.” Perri Tuchman is a 10-year-old student from Hillel Academy.)
I was in Toronto for Passover and my great-grandmother came to stay at my grandparents’ house for some of the holiday. We went on walks with her and played with her. Thank G-d, my great-grandmother is a very healthy woman. We call her Big Babi because my grandmother is Babi, so naturally she is Big Babi. My three siblings and I enjoyed every moment we spent with her. Who wouldn’t enjoy time spent with a great-grandmother? We are really lucky to have her. She is always there for us.
On Passover, everyone was sick with a stomach virus, so we told Big Babi to go to her house. She agreed, but how would she get home? She didn’t want to call a taxicab for herself, so she said she would walk instead. However, it was freezing outside, bitter cold, with the wind blowing strongly every few minutes. My mother told Big Babi, “I will walk you home.”
She responded, “No! I can walk myself. I’m not a baby!”
My mother replied firmly, “I am still walking you home,” and my mother ended up walking her home. Meanwhile, my grandmother and grandfather and uncle and sister were sick. She made the correct decision in going home.
She is the world’s best great-grandmother. She brings us chocolate and sends us money on Chanuka and our birthdays. She remembers things and visits us six hours away twice a year. She often come to our graduations, plays and presentations.
At the Passover seder, she stayed up past midnight with everyone else. Big Babi is a wonderful woman. She walks and talks about our problems with us. She runs around with her great-grandchildren. She has a dance known familywide as the Big Babi dance.
During Passover, she came over almost every day and for a bunch of meals. Whenever we leave Toronto, we always say how lucky we are that we have such a wonderful, amazing and fun great-grandmother. I don’t know what we would do without her.
I don’t know if anyone else is as comfortable telling stories of their childhood or married lives to help us or to give us a useful moral [strength]. The great thing is that she isn’t embarrassed to talk to us personally and we aren’t embarrassed to talk to her about personal stuff. It doesn’t seem at all awkward, and somehow her advice always works out.
She knits as though she is a machine and makes all her grandchildren a huge, warm, soft and comfortable afghan. When Big Babi comes to someone’s house, she doesn’t lounge around. To the contrary, she stands up and says “What shall I do to help?”
She doesn’t sit still until one of us says, “Big Babi, we’ve got this. Please sit down and rest.” These are some of the reasons why I love my Big Babi. Although this list is a long way from being finished, my Big Babi is wonderful to me and will always be that way.