When Calvin was a toddler, he couldn't quite say 'beautiful' in the way that the rest of us do, and so it came out something like "bucicle". And that is precisely how you'll hear it said in our house, from time to time. It stuck. There are countless other 'family words' that have come in this way, and then stayed....and just as many, I suppose, that have gone and been forgotten. Quite without realizing that it was happening, I see now that we've been building a family vocabulary all these years - a language that only we understand. Words that evoke giggles and laughter and memories amongst just the seven of us. With our last and youngest, I find myself holding onto those precious words even longer, and feeling bittersweet when Annabel's mistaken words are eventually replaced by the proper ones. And maybe - just maybe - I don't rush to correct her on much at all in that regard.
And so it was that yesterday, all through my day in the garden, and in the kitchen, I was followed by a little girl paint-facing. Not face paint. But paint face. And somehow - either everyone in the family agrees with my feelings on the subject, or they know me well enough to honor my feelings - but no one did correct her all day long. What are you doing, Annabel? someone would ask. "Paint Facing!" she'd reply. Which was only met with a smile from each of us.