Monday, July 31, 2006

I am six going on sixteen...

Grace celebrated her sixth birthday last week. Her actual birthday fell in the middle of the week during Vacation Bible School. Since this was the case, we planned a small family outing to Claire's Boutique for an ear piercing present. When Grace was born, Chris immediately wanted to get her ears pierced. But, to me, it just seemed wrong to punch holes in the ear lobes of a tiny piece of heaven who could only express herself by wailing and had no control over her bowels. With so many adjustments needing to be made just to cope with the addition of a baby, I just couldn't fathom adding one more thing to the basic day to day care of raising a newborn. I would be constantly worrying that she'd yank them through her ear lobes and leave a huge scar on her perfect little body. Maybe I'm a little paranoid. I'm her mom. That's my right. Although Chris didn't agree with my rationale, he did humor me and consented to wait unti she was older. I was pushing for ten. We settled on five. Marriage is ALL about compromise.

Last year, we told Grace that she could get her ears pierced for her birthday. She was all excited about it. A few days before her fifth birthday, she began asking if it was going to hurt. Since I refuse to lie to my children even the whitest of lies, I explained it to her in a way a 5 year old would understand. "Yes," I answered, "it would hurt but for only a second. Then you'll have beautiful earrings to show off." She proceeded to ask what it would feel like. "Kind of like a shot," I responded. "It will hurt for a minute but then it's gone." She freaked out. What she heard must have been Blah, Blah, Blah, SHOT, Blah, Blah. Clearly not the best analogy. Needless to say, she didn't get her ears pierced at five. I was definitely okay with that because she wasn't ready.

This year Grace asked to get earrings. She reasoned that a shot wasn't that bad and the reward was so much better than a Barbie Band-Aid. How profound! On her birthday we loaded the family up in the mini-van and headed to the mall. Grace meticulously panned over the selection of starter earrings before settling on the diamond-like one. Because they sparkle. She likes the BLING. She comes by it honestly. She hopped up in the chair and listened intently as the ear piercing "specialist" explained what would happen. I hurriedly filled out and signed the bazillion forms shoved at me by the "specialist". Once the forms were complete, I began taking pictures like a tourist in an exotic land. Stares fell upon me from other mall patrons like I was from Mars. I didn't care. My baby was getting small rocks thrust through her ear lobes. She was transforming from my innocent little baby to a child wearing pre-teen style clothes and doing adolescent-like things right before my eyes. I cried. I couldn't help it. It was a milestone event. I remember talking about this day. It seemed so far away. Here it was. Wasn't it just yesterday that I was holding my teeny baby in my arms and fantasizing about what the future would bring for her? I was so young and so scared but knew I'd have to be brave for her. Now we were in a small store in a huge mall and the tables were turned. Grace sat up in that chair. She put on her brave face. She seemed to say to me, "Don't be scared. I'll be alright." Then it happened. She didn't even flinch. That's when I knew that she was going to be alright. Actually, she'll be better then alright. She'll be phenomenal. She's ready to take on the world. Those glittery specks in her ears are my constant reminder of her strength. They are proof to me that Chris and I, as parents, have done better then alright. We've done phenomenal.