My youngest brother’s middle name is Babatunde, a Yoruba name that means father has returned. This may not always be the case, but Babatunde is given to a child (usually a male child, I believe, though someone might know better) that is born after his grandfather has passed away. A similar name is Babatunji (father has woken up again). Female versions are Yetunde (mother has returned), Yewande (mother came looking for me). I’m sure there are others and I hope you’ll educate me in the comments.
(Out of curiousity, is there a name for a girl who is born after her grandfather passes away, or a name for a boy born after his grandmother passes away?)
Anyway, today I’m dedicating my thankful post to my Babatunde because I think this name of his is really quite perfect for him. I don’t remember a lot of things about our paternal grandfather, but I know he was a cocoa farmer, and he was known to be a very wise man (and not just when he reached grandpa status!). Over the years, my dad has shared many of the words of wisdom his dad imparted to him, and also shared some of the family history and decisions his father made that demonstrate the kind of man he was. Our grandfather had a way of looking life that was just so practical and rational. The man made sense all the time, an annoying trait his son (my dad) seems to have inherited (but I can see where my dad gets so many of those qualities I love about him from!).
Now, how does my Babatunde brother compare? Well, the boy is a mess! He’s all over the place and prone to making rash decisions without considering the consequences. He’s completely scatterbrained (the phrase “would lose his head if it wasn’t screwed on” was coined with him in mind). If you want to give him your two cents he’ll patiently listen, say some things that make you think he’s listening and absorbing the info, thank you for your time and advice, then go and do the exact opposite! He cannot hold on to a cent: if he has $10 he will try to spend $20. He definitely has expensive taste. He’s the youngest child in our family but he has a bit of the “only child” syndrome too: spoiled and able to get away with nonsense. I’m ashamed to admit that I had a hand in spoiling him (not my fault: he was so cute as an infant and toddler).
So far he shares none of the above with his grandfather. But, they have two things in common. My grandfather had this really white birthmark on the back of his right hand, and my brother has the same bright white birthmark on the back of his right leg (photo evidence may be forthcoming)! He’s the only grandchild with the birthmark to my knowledge, and I don’t think any of my grandfather’s children had the birthmark. That alone is deserving of the name Babatunde.
The other thing that invokes our grandfather is the words that come out of Babatunde’s mouth sometimes. He’s 21, not the most devout Christian (I’m not saying I am) but he’s someone that people like to talk to and are drawn to. I find adults talk to him like they expect to have a meaningful conversation (despite his gangly, silly demeanour). I even have serious discussions with him occasionally because every now and then, when I least expect it, he’ll say something so wise, so beyond his years, that I really believe that at least in some way, this wonderful man that my brother never got to meet, lives in him, and God uses my brother to share a little bit of wisdom of the ages. It’s a neat thought, anyway.
Is there anyone in your family that is named for a grandparent? Does this person share some traits with his or her grandparent?
Want my monthly messages?
Subscribe for a monthly, often personal, message from Good Naija Girl.