So, what do you want to be called?

We made our way up to the 12th floor of St Thomas’ hospital to meet him.

He was 24 hours old.
So tiny, so beautiful.

My step-daughter was in bed, baby in her arms. Her husband, by her side. Big Ben and Parliament gleaming in the distance.

“What do you want to be called?” they asked, as I bent to hold him for the first time.

“Bubbe” I blurted out.

(Really, Regena??)

Did you ever bust out an answer that blew past your own ego and expressed a truth you were not quite ready for?


I grew up with a Bubbe. She was ailing and infirm and deceased by the time I was 8.
My mom is my daughter’s Bubbe. The reigning queen of our family. Still alive and kicking at 99.

(Yo, we already have a Bubbe. Who needs another one?)

And yet, here I was, assuming the mantle of the lineage of my people. Rather than striking out on my own with some new neologism.

I could have said anything…Pixie, Gena, Gigi, Honey, Cookie. Words that implied the following: ‘Look at how youthful and hot she is, who could believe she has a grandchild!’

Words that made me more ‘pal’ or ‘playmate’ than future ancestor.

I remember when I had my own daughter. Right after her birth, I was alone in the hospital with a sleeping Maggie in my arms. I regarded her and thought to myself, what the f*ck is this? Me and this quite tiny, quite real person?

And I decided right there, that – whatever it meant, wherever it took me – I was utterly in. Devoted to her, even though I had no idea what it meant to be a mom, a parent, the responsible one.

I assumed the mantle. Like a sacred rite, I was an aspirant to motherhood. The way you have to be an aspirant to become a nun. Then you get to be a postulant, a novice, a junior sister, and finally, a full-on nun.

Motherhood worked me out in all those stages. 25 years later, I finally feel like a full-on mother.

“In the beginning was the Word.” It all starts with a word. And the word I chose was Bubbe.


(Really, Regena?)

Who the f#ck am I – striking this chord inside myself?

Raunchy? Hot? Provocative? Patient? Fun? Outrageous? Inspiring? Yes, always.

All those things that I am remain unchanged.

What gets added is my devotion to this small seed of a boy – all of my radiance refracted through the lens of Bubbe as I shine my light on him.


Do I know what that means? Not exactly. But I trust myself to find my way.
Isn’t that what we, as women, are always – ongoingly – doing?

As little girls, we become aspirants to our teenage years, as teenagers we aspire to young womanhood.

Then, the aspiration often stops. Who actually longs to be an older woman? A Grandma. A Bubbe. A Nana.

Many women I know, roundabout my age, want to reverse the aging process and go backwards.

Back to when their skin was smoother, tighter, pre-grey, back to those reproductive years.
I want that too. I want to have the exquisiteness of the woman I have become, be visible on my exterior.

But, even more than that, I want the adventure of longing for what I already have.

For who I am.

For how to find my way inside this adventure, utterly devoted to this seed of a boy (even though I don’t know exactly what that means) with an open grateful heart.

In the beginning, there was the word, and the word is Bubbe and the time is now.

With so much love and pleasure,

Mama Gena's


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