What Baba Means to Me?

My grandfather wants me to call my dad πατέρας, which is an extremely formal Greek word for “father.” He claims that calling him Baba, a name that my siblings and I formulated from the informal way of calling dads in Greek, is disrespectful to him because he is the head of the family. When we were younger, we struggled to place the accent on the second “a” of the word, Μπαμπά. My grandfather hated hearing this as he viewed it as another sign of disrespect. He would immediately correct us each time we said it.

I disagree with my grandfather on this one. My baba may be a role model and also my father, but he is much more than that. He is the guy who constantly goes exploring with me, the guy who taught me how to drive a manual sports car, the guy who helps me with my career, and the guy who works tirelessly to ensure that I am able to attend my dream school with no worries.               

When my siblings and I were younger, he worked in Miami, which meant that he commuted from New York weekly. We only saw him on the weekends. Because of this, we did not really know who he was. My brother and I did not like him until we were three, and our sister did not until she was six. It is difficult to imagine how it must have felt for him to have kids who were afraid of him. In fact, he always talks about it.             

Now, my siblings and I adore our baba. He takes our family on wonderful vacations throughout the world. On weekends all he wants to do is hangout with his family. Even though he no longer commutes to Miami, he continues to work tirelessly. Sometimes he would be out late having dinner with a client, but he would always make time for us.               

Despite having been away at college, I know that my baba is only a phone call away. Even with his busy schedule and travels for work, I know that if I really need to talk to him, he will make time for me. His random texts never fail to put a smile on my face.               

Last week, while he was visiting for parents weekend, we had endless fun. He even extended his trip an extra day to spend more time with me. While that meant sacrificing study time for my Astronomy exam the next day, I was more than willing to do so. I had the opportunity to have amazing conversations with my father about career goals, schoolwork, partying and even boys. He was quite insightful in the latter, and I was surprised by how comfortable he was talking about it.               

Baba is not only an endearing way to call my father, but also a name my siblings and I gave him since childhood. He is saved in my contacts as “Baba,” and I refuse to stop calling him by that name. For me, he is everything a father entails and more.