Years ago when we were living in Jordan, before Dean and I had our own kids, we spent a lot of time with an American family who had an 11-year-old daughter. One time I accidentally called her “sweetie.” I apologized, and she said, “That’s okay. You call me that all the time.”
This morning before I drove carpool Mabel’s friend asked if she had time to run home and get something she’d forgotten. I told her she should be fine if she hurried. After the door closed behind her, Mabel turned to me, mortified, and asked, “Why did you just call her ‘Sweetie’?”
I didn’t know I had. I said, “Sorry, I guess I was just talking to her the same way I talk to you.”
I’ve also on a few occasions accidentally called my brothers “honey” — and in every instance it was as I was asking them to hand me something or lift something or do some other task for me.