“Let’s Go Honey” · 26 February 2011
I had forgotten a story from Christmas 2010 until the other night. My wife and I were talking about my brother and his middle daughter and how she addresses him.
For the purposes of this blog and any others that might mention her, I am going to call my brother’s middle daughter Zo. This is not her real name but rather a phonetic shortening of her real name. Her real name is Xochitl (pronounced Zo-chee-tl with the t-sound being very very slight), which is Aztec for “flower” or “hug me and squeeze me because I am so cute and loveable” (both of which makes sense for my niece). Even though I still have a hard time pronouncing her name because I miss the slight t-sound, Xochitl is a hugely popular name because of its meaning. Or at least it will be after everybody shares this blog with all their friends and neighbors (hint, hint).
(For those of you keeping track, this is the February Christmas piece that my pesky friend, R, double dog dared me to do. Who knows if I can put one out each month for this year, but everybody knows you cannot back down from a double dog dare. Even if it means that you might get your tongue stuck to a frozen pole. Or fall flat on your face telling only one or two stories about Christmas during the year. But I digress.)
My sister-in-law, Beatriz, always calls my brother “Honey.” It is not a pet name. It is not a nickname. It is her name for him. Okay. When she talks about him in the third person, Russell does have a name. But when she is addressing him, he is Honey. “Honey, could you get your daughter some milk?” “Honey, would you bring me my camera?” Honey, are you going to give the children a bath?” Honey, Honey, Honey. I never really noticed it though. At least not right away.
While we were having Christmas dinner, Xochitl (I decided to use her real name since it is becoming so popular now) asked her dad to give her some milk or something. “Honey, may I have some milk, please?” At another time during our stay, I heard my niece say, “No Honey,” and “Let’s go Honey.” It never really registered, until somebody else asked, “Does Xochitl always call you Honey?”
My profoundly astute brain kicked into gear and I realized that Xochitl never used “Dad,” “Pops,” “Papa,” “Father,” or any of the other traditional addresses used instead of a father’s first name. For all intents and purposes, “Honey” is her dad’s name. As a matter of fact, I am sure she thinks Russell is a nickname reserved for those outside their immediate family.
We asked Russell and Beatriz about this odd form of address and in unison, they gave a sigh of resignation. Apparently, they had tried to explain to Xochitl that “Honey” was reserved for Beatriz to use talking to Russell and for Russell to use talking to Beatriz. If I had been there for that particular conversation, I am sure I would have seen our three-year old cutie smile and say, “I understand.” I am sure I would have seen her look up at her dad and say, “Thanks for that explanation Honey.” And I am sure I would have seen her walk away saying, “Honey, Honey, Honey,” while her parents let out that same sigh of resignation they gave us at Christmas when they told us the story. By the time we heard Xochitl calling her dad Honey, they had already accepted her moniker for him. Apparently, we all had because nobody really noticed it right away. (Which is strange, since I am so observant.)
When it comes right down to it, I think my brother should be flattered by his daughter’s form of address. He should be glad that she is calling him Honey now, because as she gets older I am sure she will come up with all sorts of creative names for him. Some might even be as flattering as Honey. Besides, it gives him a great story to tell about his daughter when she gets older. And it gives me an amusing Christmas story to tell at the end of February.
(As a final note and possible apology, I just hope that as a result of my writing, there are not too many girls being named Xochitl and there are not too many daughters calling to their dads, “Let’s go Honey,” as they head out to the mall for after Christmas sales.)
© 2011 Michael T. Miyoshi
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