Buttercup began "wiping off" our besos (kisses) a few months ago.
I'll be honest: It not only hurt, it kinda pissed me off because she's still shy of her third birthday and I didn't think I was gonna have to deal with whining and eye rolling about Mama's kisses until her hormones kicked in. At least when she started doing it to Guela and The Husband and then to Tia Pati, I got some satisfaction.
She wasn't just singling me out.
But still, giving besos is synonymous---to me--- with love, affection, motherhood, family and even culture.
Ask The Husband about the primer I gave him before the first family event he attended on my side:
"Kiss first and ask questions later. If you don't know who they are and they are older than you, just call them Tia or Tio. Trust me on this. It's how we all made it through childhood."
So Buttercup wiping off mama's love just didn't sit right with me.
So I outsmarted the little diva. The next time I gave her a kiss on the cheek, I pinned her arms down and made a big deal of "rubbing the beso" into her cheek so she couldn't wipe it off. We giggled and squealed and when I released her she went to wipe her cheek off, so I let her. You catch more flies with honey, right?
I kept "rubbing in" her besos and soon after the entire household picked up on it. Still, Buttercup played hard to get because she could.
Then one day, she caught my breath when I kissed her good night. She met my eyes, smiled sleepily, and put her hand to her cheek.
"I'm rubbing it in, mama. Now let me kiss you."
I'm leaving tomorrow and won't be back until Sunday evening. My suitcase isn't even in the car yet and I'm already missing her like crazy. So I remind myself that she kissed my cheek tonight, placed her hand on my skin, and worked her little bits of love right into my smile.
And I'm off to work on making my dreams come true.