For a month or so prior to her birthday, Songbird had plenty of ideas on what she wanted as a gift from Handsome and me. When I had her pin it down to the one thing she wanted most, her recurring answer was to get her ears pierced. Several of her friends had theirs done years ago and she thoroughly quizzed both me and her Oma (my mom) about the process. Her mind was set.
For posterity, I snapped one last photo of her with untouched ears.
My initial thought was that this would be a family affair; getting earrings for the first time is a big deal to a 6-year-old, after all. But Handsome declined to come and said something that caught me off guard — especially considering all the things he has seen in war.
“I don’t think I can watch someone hurt her.”
Leaving Bug at home with Daddy, it became a girls outing as Songbird, Oma and I went to the jeweler together. She happily picked out her earrings and hopped into the chair with a nervous smile.
We had discussed at length about how it was done and the fact that it would hurt. Her friends warned her it would hurt. She remained resolute in what she wanted and disguised any fear she had.
On some level I can understand what Handsome meant. It’s heart-wrenching to watch your child get hurt, even when you’ve done your best to prepare them. But does the possibility of pain (physical or emotional) mean that, as a parent, you stop your children from pursuing the things they want in life? Sometimes, when the consequence will be devastating, I think the answer is yes. Other times, I think you inform them as best you can about their choice and stand by them as they reach for it.
There’s no photo of the moment she realized how much it had hurt — I was too busy reaching to hug her. It was a long hug, with lots of big tears on her part. My heart cried too.
The older she gets, the less likely it is that I will be able to solve her sorrows with cake pops. However, my hope is she learns that instead of holding her back from the pain of pursuing what she wants from life, I will always be right there to hold her through it.