My dad has a Boston accent that Siri struggles to understand. After he talks a text and clicks send without rereading it, a nonsensical message of gibberish lands in my family’s group text. My siblings and I race to translate what he actually means. When I got a text from him that read, “I appreciate your blood this morning,” I could not figure out the meaning, so I asked. Blood was intended to be blog. He’d read my blog and liked it.

In addition to his misunderstood accent and technical difficulties, sometimes my father stumbles over words. Most recently this has been a problem with his newest grandson, my sister’s son. His name is Quentin, but my father calls him Quintin. Qui vs que. To my dad’s credit, I tend to want to say Quintin over Quentin too. The que doesn’t roll off my tongue and I have to think about it. But since Quentin’s birth, I have witnessed this conversation multiple times:

Dad: How’s Quintin?
Sister: Dad, it’s Quentin.
Dad: Right, what did I say?
Sister: Quintin.
Dad: Yeah, that’s right.
Sister: No, it’s Quentin.
Dad: Isn’t that what I said?

Like Father Like Daughter

My family teases my dad for this quirk of mispronouncing words, so I was a bit humbled the other night when I was telling a story and I mentioned the um-bib-li-cal cord. To which my sister-in-law asked, “The what cord?”

“Umbiblical,” I stated with the confidence of my father and his word choices.

“It’s umbilical.”

And then I tried to repeat what she was saying. “Um-be, Am-bi, Am-bib-lee-a-kil, Umbiblical.” She tried to explain that there is no biblical in umbilical but I was endlessly tongue-tied. I laughed at the inevitable realization that as I get older I seem to settle deeper into becoming my parents.

This is not altogether a bad thing. All my life, I listened to people talk about turning into their parents, and I’d look at mine and think, “that will be alright.” I have wonderful parents that I love and admire. They are good, fun people with oddities that make me laugh. It might have been nice to pick up my dad’s memory for history or his ability to let things just roll off his shoulders, but I guess I’ll have to settle for being an early riser, twirling my hair in the same fashion he does, and finding ordinary words tongue twisters.

Read Another Plank Story

I tried milking a cow.  Click here to learn what surprised her.

Proof I’m my father’s daughter.  Find out another work I’ve messed up for year.

My grandfather boxed Ezzard Charles and didn’t know it.  Click here.

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