As a child, I was saddled with awkward language to describe my mothers' relationship, and I recoil from words like significant other, or partner. I stole the term honey from my friends at the flower shops of my youth, as in your honey is on the phone, but it doesn't work well with children. I can't introduce my children to my honey. It just doesn't work. Same with suitor, companion, or Heaven-forfend lover.
I tell myself that I am smart and I can come up with a better word.
"Mama, you are never getting married again, right? You already did that before. You are done with that," my eldest says.
"Mama, I want a stepfather or a stepmother," my youngest says, "in case you or Daddy die." Note to self: reassure youngest child about death.
No, I am quite firmly not getting married again, even if Tiny Pants would like a tidy name in his lexicon like stepfather and I would like a more exact word than boyfriend. The only time I waver in this is when I see wedding dresses, but then I remind myself I can always have a really cool fancy party some day and wear an over-priced dress if I want to. The rest of it I am not ready to sign on for, and I don't see myself changing my mind for a long time. That means fiance is out of the question.
I have asked all of my writerly friends to coin a word for me, and none have taken up my challenge. I guess I'm going to have to do it myself.
Special friend. Um, eek.
Thesaurus.com suggests darling, tootsie, flame, dearest, steady, sweetheart, suitor, swain. How do you even pronounce swain? That's a ski resort by my home town.
Cohort. That is totally what I will use around grownups. Maybe. But kids? Probably not.
Main Squeeze. Too 80s. Besides the kids do not want anyone else squeezing their mother.
Paramour. That's kind of cool, but I'm not entirely sure of its meaning.
Um, no. Too sexual, and besides, I'm not even married anymore so it doesn't apply.
Maybe there's a cool word in another language I can steal. Amigo. No. I'll try Yiddish, the language of my ancestors. Bwypr'nd. Guess that won't work either.
Words. I'm a writer. I should be better at this. Got any suggestions?