Hey, Littlest

11 Feb

My students – well, not mine. But it’s either that or calling them ‘the kids’ which is misinterpretable to the uninitiated, not the least of the reasons being that there are about forty of them!

Anyway… Start over. My students keep asking me if I have any nicknames. What is my favorite shortened version of my name? Did my family really call me by name…? My name is a three-syllabled thing. Shorter than Elisabeth. Longer than Charlotte. Not Anglo-Saxon. But it’s not hard to say and it always strikes me that people who complain about saying it, complain not so much because it’s ‘long’ which is what they think they’re complaint because 😉 but because it’s ‘foreign’ and when someone’s name is foreign AND long, I mean that’s just way too much trouble. Not only do you expect to learn something non-English, non-American – you want us to not even make it easier on ourselves…

And yet, no one complains about say, Giovanni, Madonna or even Angelina Jolie. Just something I suspect, but I daresay no one even notices as a prejudice in themselves. I am not unsuspect in this either. Me too!

But it is true. My family really always has bothered to call me by my whole name. All three short syllables of it. And the only other nicknames they gave me were terms of endearment.

And pretty unusual ones at that. Ever noticed some terms of endearment come more naturally to some people than others? I could never say ‘darling’. I don’t know why. I try – even to a puppy, I can’t manage it with a straight face.

😀

My mother often calls me ‘her baby girl’ or just her baby. I’m not baby anymore, that’s for sure. I’m definitely not any more the little, plump, curly-haired thing you hauled on to your lap that that phrase brings to mind! Lol.

But it’s the kind of protective, stepping-in-for-you surge of emotion that probably brings that phrase to her mind. And it’s the knowledge of that affection that can still make me clog up when she writes completely ridiculously sentimental stuff like:

xxx.xxx@gmail.com

I love you, my baby girl.

_____

I mean seriously – how can I ever read my email in a library?! Haha. But my eyes still well up, because I know she does love me. And I miss her.

So no. I got the whole three syllables plus a whole lotta love in eeeeven LONGER terms of endearment from that source. So still trying to find a response to my students, my mind tracked back to my dad.

The dad is pretty stoic in some ways. He’s the kind of dad who, when faced with the teary-eyed, trembling lip precursor to a good cry, will quickly and staunchly pat you awkwardly on the back and say ‘Now, now’. In as soothing a tone as he can manage. He gave pretty decent hugs though – if you managed to get one off him as his daughter, he’d grunt comfortably and give you a hug… Before, of course, patting you strongly and firmly on the back with a ‘Now, now’ equivalent.

Yet he’s also pretty emotional when he’s emotional.

And then my mind tracked again to the father who’s always been near. I must admit my father unashamedly hovers. Like he did at creation. Good habits die hard 🙂

I have so much love to be thankful for. The father, my mum and dad… Today I’m thinking about them. My dad’s nickname for me was a Tamil variant – Chinza – that simply meant ‘a little person’. I figure he didn’t lose out on the protective streak either. But it’s a diminutive (look that up, if you need to). In English, it would sound sorta like ‘Hey, Littlie’ but not in any demeaning way that that could imply. When the dad wanted a game or to pick me up or to go on a drive together, he’d often start with ‘Hey, Chinza!’

Hey, Littlest.

It is one of those words I’ve never heard without love. So last night, I pushed my bike up the hill considering my rather-unsharable nicknames. Considering proofs of love I knew. And I think my head became quite silent inside. God stopped me. My father stopped me.

Hey, Littlest.

I love you more than anyone else. More than you can ever know. 

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