Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I'm So Glad I Tried It

This is a story about a girl who wanted to get her ears pierced. It's a story about a mom who realized she was scared. This is a story about a dad who believed his daughter was making an informed decision. This is a story about a brother, kinda. It's a story that was lived out and photographed by an Aunt. This is a story about a girl who is so glad she tried it.

It came up, again, around 1:30 yesterday afternoon. Libby wants to get her ears pierced. She first mentioned it two or three months ago. After a family outing we headed home and out of the clear blue sky a voice pops up from the back seat. "I think I want to get my ears pierced." Daddy and I looked at each other, surprised. We'd never mentioned piercing ears, we'd never discussed it in front of her, never asked her if she was interested...never discussed it, period. So where was this coming from? That's a question we don't have an answer to, and it's a moot point anyway. The girl was interested. Well, I started in, why?

Libby wanted earrings like mama. Oh how sweet and flattering. Perhaps this was incited by the big beautiful pearls daddy bought mama for our anniversary. :) So, daddy and I began discussing ear piercings with our first born. It hurts, I told her. Point blank. It hurts bad. Not forever, not even for a long time, but for a little while it hurts really bad. Worse than taking off a bandaid? Yes, worse than that. hmmmmm. More discussion of pain, then discussion on beauty. What makes us beautiful? Certainly not earrings, but instead, we're beautiful because we're created by the Lord, in His image. And even more important is inner beauty, when we're not in sin, when we have a good attitude, when we're loving one another, serving the Lord, glorifying Him.
Though it is okay to have earrings, and mama really likes to wear hers. :) More pain talk. Then, decidedly, "I don't think I'm ever going to get my ears pierced." Daddy responded by letting Libby know that it's fine if she never does, but she just might find that she changes her mind in a few years.

One week later. . .
There has been no mention of ears, or piercings. A forgotten topic. Until it's 3:00, snack time in our household, and I am slicing cheese for the kids. "mom, can I have a piece of cheese? and I'd like to get my ears pierced." It's back. Okay, well mama and daddy will have to talk about that, we'll see, etc. Mentionings of ear piercings would come and go, about once a week, for the next couple of months. I would usually tell her we're considering it and she'd be satisfied. Meanwhile
we had no real plan for when we would or would not let Libby get her ears pierced. We have nothing against it, but we did want it to be her decision. Then again, she's only 4, so how well can she make that decision? And yet, have you ever met an adult who got their ear pierced young and they say, "Oh how I regret that. I sure wish I'd waited until I was 8 and I knew what I was doing." Or more, a woman who wishes she had never pierced her ears at all? I haven't. If you're that woman, don't tell me. :)

The thought lingers, one day we'll do it. When? We don't know. Then Libby's little friend Maren got her ears pierced. Ah ha. Encouragement. Though I didn't know that, yet.

Finally we're back, it's yesterday. And as we get ready for quiet time, Libby pipes in. "Mom, can I get my ears pierced tonight after dinner?" I respond, stalling... empty words about decisions. You see, my big fear was that it would hurt worse than she expected, and she'd have future fear of pain. She wouldn't trust me to inform her and prepare her for pain. That she'd go in for Kindergarten shots and be a panicking wreck because she remembered the pain of her ear piercing. That I'd try to remove a bandaid and she'd writhe more than usual, because I'd failed to protect her from earring pain in the past. Oh, I don't want my little girl to be in pain. "Well, mom, if MAREN can get her ears pierced and not even cry, then I think I can do it." I was quick with this response, "oh she cried. It hurts." Libby was not deterred. "Oh. Well, still, she's even littler than me and she can do it, so I think I can do it. I can do it mom. We can do it after dinner, after daddy gets home. That way he can take care of Xander and you can take care of me."

ah me. ah my. Now I'm sweating. She can do it. I know she can. I know she can bear the pain. I had a reminder earlier that very morning. She got knocked in the mouth with a swing, and came into the house totally under control, blood on her hands and coming from her lip, looked at me and said, "uh... mom?" We cleaned her up and she sat on my lap with ice on her lip for about 10 minutes and complained once or twice that it was cold on her fingers. She can bear pain. And now she's making an argument. Defending her proposal. When did my baby get so grown up?

So, I told her I would look into it. I would talk about it with daddy and we'd make a decision. And I stuck to my word. Kids in their beds I hit the world wide web. Who should pierce a kid's ears? How bad does it hurt?! (I seem to recall real pain. My first piercing was when I was 5.) I made some calls, three pediatricians and a couple of salons. Informed my dear hubby of what was going down in this house, then got back to him after I'd looked further into this.

Libby got up from her quiet time and I whisked her and Xander off for swimming with friends. No mention of earrings. On the way home, she inquired again. Persistent little lady today. Well, I told her, daddy and I are thinking about it. And that was truth. "Can I have big white ball earrings like yours?" (oh, how sweet.) The door was open, it was time to hit her with the hard truths of ear piercing. Let her know what to expect, what not to expect.

I don't know what kind of earrings you will have, Libby, but in the end that will be a decision for mama and daddy. And the earrings that we choose are going to be the ones that you wear for a long time, several weeks. You won't be able to change them or wear anything different for quite a while. And it's going to hurt. (she can't hear that enough, can she?) But then we'll put a special water on them that cleans them and feels cold and good, and it will stop hurting. We'll have to do that every single day, three times a day. We'll have to work to keep them clean and you won't be allowed to touch them. Then after a few weeks we can change your earrings, but you will still have to wear earrings every day and every night for a long time. Like, a year.

I can do it, mom. If Maren can do it, I can do it. She's even littler than me.

Oh, my baby. She was so calm and confident. She was informed. And the last thing I wanted to do, after cheering for Maren after she got her earrings, was imply to my sweet Libby that I had doubts about her. So I assured her that I knew she could do it. That I knew she would be great and she would love her new earrings, they would look fabulous - but - far more important than beautiful earrings is inner beauty. Of course Libby totally agreed, and gave me examples of ways that she could be beautiful, by showing love, kindness, generosity, obedience.

Maybe you and daddy can talk about it. Can you call him? Okay... I called daddy and told him that Libby had asked that I would give him a call. He knew to what this discussion was referring. She interceded, "Can I talk to him?" Then she sweetly took the phone and told daddy she was thinking that maybe tonight after dinner we could go get her ears pierced. She and daddy discussed it for a minute longer, and he told her we'd decide when he got home. He was on his way.

Ultimately, it was decided. Daddy pointed out that she was confident, she was excited, and those two emotions would go a long way in helping her deal with pain, keeping her from backing out mid-piercing, etc. So, we rolled with it.

More phone calls and it was discovered that there was one place in town that would allow Libby to get both lobes pierced at the same time tonight. The catch? Mama would have to be the second gun. oh my. Meantime, Libby, totally calm and unemotional, tells daddy, "I'm really excited to get my ears pierced daddy. If I don't get them pierced, I'll be a little sad." She seemed
SO mature. There was no whining, no manipulating, no begging. She was simply telling him how she was feeling. He agreed with her, told her we would do our best because we do love to give her good things. She smiled. Oh I love her.

Discussion. Okay, I'll do it. I'll pierce her ear!!! We picked up Aunt Brett for an extra set of hands, help with Xander, the camera, support for the little lady-to-be and headed across town.

Libby had no regrets, no concerns. She was so excited to tell Aunt Brett what was happening as we drove to Sweet & Sassy.

And when we arrived no one was nervous but me. No one felt a little sick to their stomach but me. I got my formal training, it lasted about 2 minutes. I practiced on a cardboard ear, we took lots of pictures and cheered for our brave little girl. Then, it was time!

Here we are. What a fun place. Libby takes her spot on the throne, we've already picked the earrings she will be wearing. They're flowers. They're just what she wanted, as soon as she saw them. Good news for her, they met our approval. :)

She's excited. Oh my girl.

She's really excited. She really was. It was so fun to watch her!

Okay, time to get serious. Cleaning her ears to prep for marking.

Lindsay studied and marked Libby's little lobes. She told Libby to look right at her nose. Libby's eyes did not wander. She was marked, and checked, and double checked. Approved by mama, daddy and aunt Brett... it seemed it was time.

okay, now one with mama. so you have a picture to remind you of how in love we were before the day i let you endure the pain of ear piercing. :)

getting everything lined up. aunt brett holds her hands. libby is getting a serious look on her face. i realize we need to do this quikly, before she becomes afraid.

libby watches me as i say, "one, two, three, go."
Lindsay put me in charge. Apparently, the worst thing that could happen is Lindsay could give the "go" command, and the mom could chicken out, then one ear is pierced and little lady is left wondering why mom didn't do it, and then we have to pierce a second time. Not really the worst thing in the world, but not as ideal, it would seem, as if mom doesn't chicken out, and what's done is done. Lindsay claims that she's good with the trigger (she is the general manager, after all. i'm sure she had extensive ear piercing training. like me.) When I'm ready, I call it and she'll be right there with me. okie dokie.

Go! we pulled the triggers. I have no memory of this, I'm not kidding. This was slightly traumatic for me. I had a pounding headache the rest of the night. :) Libby's hands escape Brett's, she looks a bit frightened --- but then, within a moment..... !

she's beaming! oh she's so beautiful. even with her wounded lip. :)
by this time, and this is what's truly remarkable to me, she said it didn't hurt. this was literally one minute after piercing. so, i don't know where my big fear came from (I have seven piercings after all), but i just worried that she'd be in pain the rest of the evening. nope. doesn't hurt at all, she claims, and she sure looks to be telling the truth.

just as an added bonus, to make her experience even sweeter, Lindsay put some glittery stars on Libby's cheek. Libby informed me that usually, girls only get one glittery star, but since she was SO brave, Lindsay gave her two. And then, as an added bonus (as if the lollipop and certificate and glittery stars weren't enough) she got to spray her hair with cupcake smelling goodness.

this is the lollipop she chose. it was late, but we hadn't eaten dinner yet, so she had to wait until a little later to indulge. she proudly held that flower just so for the next 30 minutes or so.

and here's her certificate. proof that she went through with it!

everything went so well that when xander climbed onto the throne, we decided to get his ears pierced too.

okay, that's not true. but he's so cute, isn't he?

but wait! that's not all! there are fountains (fou-bans!) outside!

so we take the obligatory family shots and enjoy the beauty

the kids thought they were cool, and libby still has that lollipop... at the ready

i love that beautiful smile.
throughout the rest of the night, libby declared her excitement for her earrings, several times. one of my favorite things she repeated was, "I'm so glad I tried it." It seems to be a theme for this summer, trying it. She wasn't so glad she tried dance class, that was a flop. But she was so glad she tried swimming lessons, and now ear piercing, and hopefully soon -- preschool. Oh my!

I love you my Libby lou. You're beautiful. You were beautiful without your ears pierced and you're beautiful today. And you encourage me and bless me with your love, trust, resilience, courage, joy, and dependence. You're SUCH a blessing! *smooches*

elisabeth adelaide. what a gift.


Maurice Family News said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maurice Family News said...

That was so very sweet Heidi. What a wonderful memory you and she will have of here special moment. What a sweet girl. I really enjoyed reading this.

Michelle said...

Hoorray for Libby - what a beautiful, sweet girl! :) So happy you included all the photos & convo leading up to the actual piercing - it wouldn't be the same without it!: ) Loved reading & looking at thepics! :)

Paige said...

How lovely she is! I'm sure she'll remember that for a long time. I love how thorough the whole process was for all of you - what a great example of a godly family! Thanks for the awesome post, and tell Libby that Miss Paige is very proud. :-)

Chris said...

Congratulations, Libby!! Can't wait to see those beautifully adorned lobes!