On May 5, 1862, General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin defeated French forces at the Battle of Pueblo. His victory was both unexpected and heroic. 150 years later we celebrate his victory and call it Cinco de Mayo. It is a time to remember a battle valiantly fought. It is a time to reflect on Mexican heritage and the universal cause of democracy and freedom. It is a time to eat tacos and beat the living candy out of a pinata.
I never pass up an opportunity to eat tacos. Or hit a candy filled clown with a stick.
So on Saturday we had some friends over for a Cinco de Mayo party. It was freezing. The company was good and the food was delicious, if arguably on the less authentic side. Zuzu was as excited about the tacos as I was. She sat down and watched the kids play as she worked her way through our mexican inspired buffet. Once she had eaten everything on her plate twice (she really, really loves tacos), she stood on the side of the yard and continued to watch the kids. When they played tag, she ran in place; when they threw the ball back and forth, she jumped and clapped her hands. It was adorable, a little sad and very familiar. In so many ways she is just like her mama. I spent so much of my childhood standing to the side watching. I know I should be happy she is happy just laughing and clapping and watching. I know all children engage differently. I know I am projecting my issues onto her. I don't care. I wanted her to get out there and be with the other kids. Maybe, I thought, just maybe the pinata will help!
As we lined the kids up I tried to explain to Margaret what was about happen.
"Okay, honey. You guys are going to hit the pinata with a bat! Just take turns hitting him and then when you have hit him hard enough he breaks open and candy falls out everywhere! Isn't that fun?"
She nodded at me very seriously. As the first little boy picked up the bat I could see the thoughts darting inside that curly haired head. Okay, I can do this. No big deal. Just swing the stick and get candy. Hit the the clown, get candy. Swing, hit, candy. Swing, hit, candy. Swing, hit....
And then the little boy started attacking the pinata.
"MOMMY! They are hurting him! They are hurting Pinata! Stop it! Stop hurting him. STOP!"
I picked her up and went inside to wait for the carnage to end. I couldn't blame the little girl. I had hung a clown effigy from our house, told her to beat it to death and then glory in its demise by eating the things that fell out of it's stomach. It was like something out of a Grimm's fairy tale. While we waited for the beating to end she told me a princess story. And around the time she and Cinderella started making crowns in a meadow, I remembered there is nothing lovelier than this little girl, just the way she is. My little dancing, singing, afraid of birds, in love with anything that sparkles, dress wearing girl.
When we went back outside the grass was covered in candy and Margaret AHHH'ed! and wiggled away from me. She was finally running around with her friends, laughing, skipping and stuffing her face with candy. Yeah. She is just like her mama.
It could be worse.