Pierced Ears by Peggy Bogaard-Lapp
Today my 10-year old daughter and her 12-year old best friend got their ears pierced. I may have been more excited than my daughter. It’s been a long time coming, this tradition of nearly every American girl. I have always told Erica that this was her decision, and something she should do when she is ready. She and her friend have been planning since the middle of summer to have this be their Christmas gift to each other. I am proud of her making the decision to wait, and to not rush into it all too quickly. She and her friend have both managed to stay far from the too-much, too-soon world that is constantly in young girls’ faces. Despite the efforts of her parents to have her be “coordinated” in what she wears, Erica starts each day in her own way, dressed how she wants and unconcerned about having perfect hair. From my point of view, it’s both frustrating and refreshing. I would love for her to take more time with her appearance, but I know any day now she will come home upset that she isn’t wearing the “right” clothes. I remember wearing home-made clothes right up until the seventh grade. The horror of polyester pants in loud patterns! And I always had “high waters” since my legs grew fast. I don’t remember if I was even aware of it then, but looking back at school photos makes me cringe. I look at my daughter and silently promise that she will be different, and then she comes out of her room in a creative ensemble and I know I don’t really need to be concerned. She is confident. She is beautiful.
I was 13 when I first got my ears pierced. I did it at the mall, just like Erica did today. I know my mom took me, but remember nothing about how it felt, or if I was nervous. Erica, well lets say she was a bit nervous, because she turned pale as soon as the first earring went in, and afterwards she ran to the restroom, feeling nauseous. The young woman that did the piercing didn’t seem to be at all concerned, as if this was an every day event. It probably is. And when we returned to the store, she went on as if nothing happened, explaining about how the girls should care for their ears and be careful when styling their hair. I wish Erica listened to me in such a focused and attentive way when I want her to clean her room or do her homework!
Erica has been very strong at resisting the pressure of her peers to pierce her ears, wear the “right” clothes, and a lot of other things. I am proud of her being her own person and literally marching to her own beat. Middle school is just down the road, and I know she won’t always be so strong. Everyday, she inspires me to be better myself, and not be like everyone else, and to accept everyone for just who they are. It’s things like this when I see I have been successful teaching her to be an individual. To be strong. To be herself.