Maria ran her first lemonade stand with three friends today. She loved it. She sat at the table with bags of popcorn for 25 cents and solo cups of lemonade for 10 cents. The two boys ran out to the curb when they saw a car coming down the street and yelled “Lemonade for sale!” Maria and the other girl at the stand, Nora, sat back and watched the boys. All of the kids are in first grade but none of them are in Maria’s class. I had asked one of the boys’ mom, Tess, to pick up Maria from school for me because I was stuck in Obama traffic at the university (Obama spoke at OSU today!). Tess and I used to live three doors away from each other. She is always there in times of need, which are not often but absolutely a godsend when they do occur.
Mario idolized Tess’ son, Blake because Blake loves to play any sport. Mario would see him in his front yard playing soccer and beg to go play with him. Maria and Blake got along well when they were younger but as they have grown older, they have very little in common. They weren’t in kindergarten or first grade together so there was even less interaction. Maria did not know the other boy at the stand at all except seeing him in the cafeteria at school. Maria is in girl scouts with Nora but they don’t interact much, either. So when Tess texted me to tell me they were heading over to this lemonade stand, I wondered how Maria would do.
When I showed up, she was beaming with the other kids. She begged not to leave. She ran around with all of them even though it was obvious that the three of them hung out a lot, and Maria was a “fourth wheel.” But she didn’t care a bit. At one point, they all got popsicles and forgot about her. She didn’t freak out, cry, throw a fit. She just let Tess ask one of the boys if he could get her a popsicle and a few minutes later, he did. She accepted it and ate with all of them, not holding any grudge. I am amazed at how much she just goes with the flow in those situations. Maybe it’s just a function of being young – you have less judgments about yourself, less hold-ups. But I have noticed other kids her age who would not have been as comfortable as Maria around this crew so I do appreciate her ability to roll with it and have a good time doing it.
And while I appreciate that trait in her, I do not appreciate her sarcastic mouth that seems to creep up more and more. The other night I was talking to neighbors and she stood next to me. Every time I told her to do something, she gave me some smart as- response back. I pulled her aside when I finished with the neighbor and told her how much I disliked that talk. Part of it is that she tries to be funny because that is how Jon and I can be funny so I can’t totally be appalled at her behavior but she has to know when she is going overboard and stop. We don’t need Mario following in her footsteps since that seems to be his mojo lately. Maria was on a kick where she would cry “I am a bad daughter!” every time we scolded her for a poor choice and Mario now does the same every time he gets scolded (at least he is smart enough to say “son”).
All in all, however, I really couldn’t ask for a better role model for Mario. I still have an email that my dad wrote me when I was starting out in the practice of law. In it, he wrote how proud he was of me for how much I had accomplished and how much I cared for my brother and sister. He ended the note by telling me how glad he was that I was the first child. I think I may be writing something very similar to Maria someday in the future.