It came to me last night. Maria is going to be a lawyer and Mario is going to be an actor.
I took the kids upstairs last night to get them ready for bed. On the way up, I asked Mario if he gave Grandma and Peepaw a kiss and hug when they left that afternoon. He looked away from me as he muttered the word “yeah” and I could see a little grin. I repeated my question and asked him to tell me the truth. He looked at me and explained that he forgot. As he explained, he tried to jump from the bed to hug me. I stepped back and told him “no playing” until we talked. He fell to the ground and looked up at me with pathetic, watery eyes and cried “I can’t believe you wouldn’t hug me. My own mother wouldn’t hug me!”
Maria swooped in like Superwoman and started at me.
“Mom, how could you be so mean to Mario? All he wanted was to see his mom when he got home and you won’t even hug him?!”
I explained to Ms. Justice that I just wanted Mario to understand that he needs to appreciate all he gets from his family and make sure he says thank you to people. Maria started it up again:
“He did say thank you, mom. He even hugged them earlier in the day. But he couldn’t kiss them because they left too quickly. He would have ran out and grabbed them if he knew they were leaving but he was upstairs cleaning his room for you.”
I knew that was an exaggeration, which Maria has gotten very good at lately. Adding one little, additional fact to seal the deal. Meanwhile, Mario stood to the side of the room looking completely dejected. I walked up to him and said “I love you pumpkin. I just want you to appreciate all you have. Now give me a hug.” As I reached out to wrap my arms around him, he backed away. I could see him start to smile but he held it back.
“I won’t hug you now. You wouldn’t even let me hug you earlier so I won’t hug you now.”
He looked away towards the wall and I am almost sure he was smiling. He does this so I will keep going after him and beg him to let me hug him.
When I walked away, he faked a little, muffled cry. I walked back and wrapped my arms around him. He wiggled around. I continued to hug him and kiss him. He finally gave in and let me hug him without restraint. He eventually looked up at me, brushed the hair out of my face, looked at me with a serious look, and said “love you, mom” just like actors I used to watch on the Guiding Light soap opera.
Maria joined in the hug. As she leaned over me, she explained “we just want to be perfect for you and that’s hard to do all the time so you need to understand that and not get so upset.” Just like a trial advocate who taught me in law school.
Heaven help me.