So I got several comments on spelling "definitely" wrong and it brought to mind my oldest son competing in the local Spelling Bee when he was in elementary school.
When Older Son (OS) was in elementary school, he surprisingly won the right to compete in the City Wide Spelling Bee. I say surprisingly because he wasn't all that great a speller in elementary school. We spent many Thursday nights studying those dreaded spelling lists for weekly Friday spelling tests.
Well, anyway, his dad and I were really proud of him being selected. We worked for several evenings going over the long list of spelling words that would be in the contest. There were way too many words on that list and none of us were really willing to dedicate long hours for study time. We talked briefly about those "trouble" words that have 2 meanings and are spelled differently.
Now days when I hear about those national spelling bee contestants, I always shutter to think about the amount of time invested preparing for those major competitions.
The big day arrived and we were all surprised how many people showed up for the City Wide Competition. OS was quite nervous but calmly took his place on the stage. They started the competition and all the participants were doing fairly well.
There was a list of spelling words in the program, and all the audience followed along with each word. You could almost tell who were the parents of each kid that got up to the podium because those parents would smile, offer encouraging expressions, or even hold their breaths. When their offspring completed the word correctly, a relieved breath was expired along with applause.
It was devastating to that first boy that missed his first word...he left the stage in tears and his parents immediately went to comfort him. (I later found out that this was our family physician's son and we have talked about how traumatic that was for his son to be the first one knocked out.)
It soon became apparent which kid was up next, and what word they would be asked to spell. As the worrying mom and study partner, I knew some of the words OS had trouble spelling. I kept thinking, guiltily, that maybe we should have studied more. I also saw how serious some of the participants were taking this little spelling bee (think national spelling bee contestants...and all those dumb questions they ask..like: Definition? Does it have a different pronunciation?... etc.)
Just about that time, some mom sitting next to me says, " Boy, I'm glad my son doesn't have to spell "stationery (ary)" because he always forgets which one means the envelope and which one means immobile.
I stated in a confident voice, we reviewed those "trouble" words and my son knew that particular one...we had specifically addressed that one.
She then repeated that she had tried to remind her son that the "E" in stationery stood for envelope but he couldn't seem to remember that clue.
I looked at her in shock and said, "Oh, my gosh...I told my son the wrong definition for Stationery vs. Stationary!" (Remember when you read about me having trouble with certain word spellings....this happened to be one of my "trouble" words also.... for some reason I "thought" I had the right definition with the right spelling.)
I thought to myself... what is the chance that OS will get that word? Probably, little chance and I relaxed for a brief moment.
Then the "worried mother syndrome" kicked in... I frantically counted the number of words till "stationery" came up and just as frantically counted when OS would be up to the podium.
Words just don't cover that sinking feeling when the universe aligns just right and the most improbable event becomes reality. Sure enough, OS was going to get "stationery" for his word!!!
I sat in the stands just waiting for this big calamity, knowing there was little I could do to correct the problem....Also knowing that OS WAS going to spell it WRONG! I had coached him and knew there was no doubt. Some small part of our brain really likes to hope for the impossible even in situations we know the outcome.
OS proudly takes the podium, gets the word "stationery"...asks for the definition... and spells it WRONG!
He looks at the judge with shock in his eyes but calmly walks off the stage.....
He was totally ticked at his mom for messing him up....
Even to this day, I can recall that horrible sinking feeling....But,
I know how to spell stationery now .............