Graham and the Four Letter Word
"That's a big fucking crane," the little voice in the back seat said.
I was driving home from a visit with my parent's, the back seat full of Graham and Sloan and the traveling menagerie that goes with them from house to house. We were passing through a construction zone, half the highway blocked off, huge machinery everywhere. I wasn't sure I'd heard him correctly, he's not always the clearest speaker.
"What did you say?" I asked.
"I said," he sighed dramatically, "that's a big fucking crane."
I was calm. I was cool. I was collected. And my mind was racing trying to place the last time I might have said that in front of them. I've talked about swearing in the past and it's something that I've really tried hard to pay attention to as my kids have gotten older. And I swear on my collection of hardcover Terry Pratchett novels I haven't used the F word around them that I can remember.
What followed was a very calm conversation about there being a time and place for everything. I explained that there were some words that only adults could use and that even adults can't use them in every situation. I asked if they understood and two tiny voices from the backseat agreed that I was right.
We've had several discussions now about adult only words but overwhelming guilt and failure continue to flood me. I've been given these two miniature people to guide and teach and love and nurture and one of them is walking around dropping F bombs. I realize I'm not the only parent that's had to deal with this. And I would love to know how others deal with this in the pit of the night when you worry they might not go to college or find someone who really loves them because they were swearing like sailors as toddlers.
And he was right. It was a giant crane. I might have even used the word fucking to describe it myself. But I think it's time to start that swear jar.