Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Price of Beauty

When I was eight, my mother began our family (and female) tradition by getting my ears pierced.
I vividly recall walking down the sidewalk at night, after my amazing 8th birthday party.  The first I'd ever had with friends- and at a restaurant, to boot!
My mom told me there was still one more surprise.  We were walking there- wherever 'there' was.  My grandma was with us, as was my little sister. 

Suddenly, true to form, my sister blurted out that I was going to get my ears pierced.   (She also tended to 'accidentally' tell me every time she had gotten candy while I was at school.)

Suddenly, my mind traveled back to a few weeks prior- when I had come home from school, begging my mother to let me pierce my ears.  There were several girls at school with earrings and I was fascinated by them.
What I hadn't told her, was that only a few  short days later, I witnessed the pain of one of these girls who had a raging infection from said ear piercing.
I had decided on my own that I didn't want earrings after all.

But, there I was- walking toward the shop with a sense of impending doom.   I knew it was an honor to be accompanied by my mother and grandmother on this special day- and that they both wanted to be there to witness it.  And I was the nice girl who tried to do what was expected of her.
So it was done.  And I was scared. And my grandmother has the pictures to prove it.

Fast forward many years....and I was piercing the ears of my own excited 8 year old daughter.   She was excited and all for it.
My second daughter was also excited.  And has an amazing ability to hold in pain.  She just goes to her 'quiet place' and you may see a sheen to her eyes or even a single tear fall- but that's it.  

And yet, as my littlest girl turned 8, I found myself in no hurry to defile her precious ear lobes.   In fact, I suddenly realized just how young eight years old really is.  Why, she was practically just out of diapers!   How long had she been eating solid food?  It suddenly didn't seem all that long.

We'd been facing issues like this for a while.  When our oldest turned a big, strapping seven, we felt it was time for him to have a BB gun.  This became a seventh birthday tradition.  Until our last two girls- suddenly they seemed awfully young to have a BB gun.  But, our older kids insisted and two more BB guns have been added to our collection.  Each with their own carvings or stickers to individualize them.

Thankfully, I thought, my littlest girl has practically no pain tolerance whatsoever.   She turned eight only with the reassurance that we would not strap her down and pierce her ears.  
Easy for me- I could nuzzle her soft ear lobes a little longer when I tucked her into bed at night.  I could rub their softness between my thumb and forefinger as she told me stories about her day, eyes lit up and glassy as she played them out in her mind.

Alas, that all eventually changed.
It changed when she learned how to make her own earrings at a friend's house.
And saw her sister wearing them.
Suddenly, I was besieged by begging.
And I let her beg for a while.  I reminded her of how much she hadn't wanted it previously. 
And then it came down to the day that I could no longer refuse.  
Or couldn't stand to hear begging any more.  Because at this point, she'd gotten both her sisters on her side.   
And I hate to be bullied.  I really do.

So we all went.  
And she was so very ready.  Well, she was ready.

Now she was becoming scared- very scared.

And unsure.

And after TWO hours of coaxing and bribing and reminding her that we could just go home,
(she did not want to go home- she was just really scared, she said)

                                                       The deed was done.

And this was the price of beauty.

   Today, however, she's all smiles about the sparklies in her ears!


And I have the pictures I took of her untouched lobes.

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