We maintain very few routines in my little two-person household, but every morning before my daughter leaves for school, she gives me a kiss, we say I love you (if she isn’t all dressed up in 13-year-old funky attitude) and we go about our day. Homegirl begged and pleaded to be able to walk or take the bus by herself and since it’s her freshman year, I finally relented. Now that the weather is getting brisk, though, the thrill of all that independence is kind of wearing off. I guess that wind all in her undercarriage wasn’t nearly as glamorous as the older kids made it seem.

So the other morning, she asked me to drop her off. As she was about to get out of the car, yammering because I was making her exit at the corner instead of giving her curbside chauffeur service, she leaned over and gave me a peck on the lips. One of her friends spotted her and contorted her face into a befuddled snarl. “You still kiss your mom on the mouth?” she gasped into my daughter’s face. I shrugged. Skylar shrugged. We looked at each other befuddled, like the time her Miami relatives made us feel like two-headed centaurs for putting ketchup on our bacon.

It isn’t the first time I’ve heard flack about it, though. Last year, I bumped into a blog post lambasting actress-turned-yet-another-reality-show-star Lisa Raye for kissing her daughter on the mouth. That was my initial introduction to the fallout, and I had to chuckle to myself because I sure enough give Miss Teen Sensation smooches on her lips e’ryday—not just before school but when she wakes up in the morning, before she goes to bed at night, and for no particular reason at all and whenever I darn well please, as a matter of fact.

I take it from the commenters’ outrage that there’s a cutoff age when mothers should cease and desist from laying kisses on their kids’ mouths and that I apparently glossed over that page in the parenting handbook.

Diddy’s on-again-off-more-often ex Kim Porter also had tongues wagging last year when paparazzi snapped her in the middle of a public lip locking with her son, Quincy (who didn’t disappoint my prediction that he was going to grow up to be a real looker, but that’s neither here nor there). Now, if the tongue ever made an appearance or they started wandering into open-mouthed exchanges, that would give reason to get grossed out. Actually, I’d be first in line with a barf bag and a “how could you?!” scolding. But innocent affection? Puh-lease. I honestly don’t see what all of the hubbub is about. On to a real scandal.
In fact, I guess that makes me pretty darn risqué myself. We’re an affectionate bunch, us Harrises, so my mom still lays kisses on my lips all the time, as do my aunts and cousins. So did my grandparents before they passed on. The men in our family just exchange hugs and handshakes, though. They’re not into the whole mafia greeting thing. But us girls all kiss on the mouth.

So I guess Skylar better stay puckered up because I don’t plan on stopping my overflow of mommy-to-beloved-girl pecks and smooches, whether they’re on the cheek or smack-dab on the mouth. And if someone in the general public is opposed, as well, I’ve got something for them to kiss, too. (I’m just joshing ya. I kid, of course.)

What’s wrong with a mother kissing her children on the lips? Is it only OK up until a certain age?

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