Sunday, March 29, 2009


"Lasterday" is no more.

Finn retired his neologism--meaning the day before yesterday, or really any day that came before today--some weeks ago. And I know, I know. I should have told you this early, but I've been trying to cope with this reality on my own. Not the wisest decision. It is a big burden to bear. And I also know, as I'm sure you'll remind me, that you could've lent some wisdom or perspective that would have eased the transition, that you could have mitigated my pain.

Finn has been using this all-purpose word for year now. It appeared soon after those first words, blah, apple, and dada. Lasterday was mysterious.

"Mama, do you remember when we went to that big fountain?"

And that could've meant the picnic we had the day before at the Plaza fountain. Or it could've meant the project Barry did at the fountain two years before. Or it could've meant the trip we took to Niagra Falls.

At first, I was resistant to lasterday. It wasn't precise. It didn't narrow down the temporal frame of possibilities. It just referred to some time before this particular time. And then Finn started narrowing its definition on his own. He found "yesterday," used it, but still kept lasterday to mark anytime that happened before that.

Lasterday worked for us. We started using it as a family. I took it into meetings. And like any signifier marking a previously unlabeled signified, it filled a void. It gave meaning to something that we had previously stumbled around.

And it was cute.

But in March, as we were talking about a movie we had seen lasterday, Finn corrected me.

"You mean 'the day before yesterday.'"
"Nope, it was lasterday."
"Not a word, mama."

And then, right then, I felt the crushing blow. Lasterday had been replaced by practical, conventional linguistic markers. A clunky, unelegant phrase. In that moment, we lost lasterday.

And not to overdramatize (but that's the way I work) I have to wonder what else?

1 comment:

spamchang said...

One day, you'll be able to bring up lasterday in a conversation, oh so slyly, and you'll have to look at his eyes to see if the recognition is there...he'll want his childhood back sooner than he thinks!

On the other hand, I like that he recognizes the precision that language can wield. Mean what you say, say what you mean.