I grew up Seventh-Day Adventist. Because Adventists are generally conservative with regards to dress, I was not allowed to wear jewelry or make-up. So I never had my ears pierced.
Until today. It all started when Logan renewed her campaign to get her ears pierced. Every once in a while, she asks if she can get her ears pierced, and I usually respond with an age answer: “When you are 10.” What I realize now that I am a parent is that the “age response” is what you use when you’re not sure when, if ever, you want your child to do the thing she’s asking to do. Because I didn’t grow up with pierced ears, I thought of the process as a big deal, sort of like a coming of age event.
Wouldn’t I feel uneasy about her having her ears pierced when I grew up in a religious culture that said it was not ok to pierce one’s ears?
I think that really is the deeper issue. I’ve already made a very intentional move away from the church — years ago. But that doesn’t mean some of the ideas and habits that I practiced over the first 20 or so years of my life just vanish or are completely erased. Traces remain. And that’s a good thing because they inform how I move through the world. But, perhaps more importantly, those traces challenge me from time to time to question why I do what I do — am I making real, intentional choices, or am I just rotely following a code from a former affiliation?
For Logan, getting her ears pierced is about becoming a big girl. And choosing a pair of earrings is about expressing her own unique self. Well, the way she says all that is, “I really want to get my ears pierced, mommy.” And, “I really like these earrings a lot. They’re my favorite color.”
So today Logan got her ears pierced. She was so excited, but on the way there she became really nervous. “Will it hurt?,” she kept asking. When we arrived, she asked if I would also get my ears pierced. I actually was thrilled that this was something she wanted us to do together. So I decided that, if I was going to get my ears pierced, I should do it before I turn 40, and alongside my big girl. She chose her earrings — her birthstone. I chose the same pair, but with my February amethyst. Then Logan asked, “Can you go first?”
We both made it through the ear piercing and were very excited as we left the mall, hand in hand, our earlobes aching a bit but also sparkling with our new earrings, too.
Today was a little moment, an itty bitty rite of passage for both of us, in different ways.
What have some of your small rites of passage been? Which itty bitty rites of passage have you witnessed your kids enjoy?