In Al-Anon there’s this common phrase: “Adult child of an alcoholic.”
(Waaaait a minute, you’re saying, what does this have to do with fashion or hair? I’ll get us there, I promise).
It just means that you are an adult who had an alcoholic family member in your childhood.
But, for years, in my brain I heard it as “Adult-Child of an alcoholic.” As in, we were adults as children because there was an alcoholic in our life. We were little adult children.
I laughed out loud the day I realized I had been mis-translating it all those years.
But had I been mistranslating? Maybe in the literal sense, yes. But that word “adult child” was a phrase I needed to add to my vocabulary.
I had been an adult-child.