Well before her seventh birthday, Elie announced that she would like to get her ears pierced. Dadam and I talked it over and decided that, if she asked, that would be an okay birthday present. Her birthday approached and we asked her what she wanted and she listed a few things, but the ear piercing didn't come up again. So, she didn't get it done. It should be pointed out that we did not volunteer it for a suggested birthday present because we both felt like it was very important for *her* to desire it enough that it was her idea.
This year, she made it very clear that she really wanted her ears pierced and asked if we could do it for her eighth birthday. We said yes. Then, I panicked. I don't know why, I'm not sure I can really articulate it. I think part of it was that I dreaded the thought of someone causing her pain. (I know it's brief and and I know pain is part of life, don't worry, I'm not delusional.) It seemed like a really big step. I was sure she was ready, but was I?
I mentally hemmed and hawed. I started doing research. Having some professional piercings and having had some mall piercings that didn't turn out so nicely, I was interested to find out that many professional piercers feel like the piercing "guns" that are used in the malls aren't so safe or hygienic. Did we want to take her to some teenybopper clerk at the mall or did we want to use a professional, licensed piercer? Uh, I'll go with the second option please.
More research and I found a place. But they had the wackiest hours! By the time I finally got my head around getting Elie's ears done and we had a free Saturday, it was already April.
She and I hopped in the car and headed out, but as we were driving it occurred to me that maybe they did this sort of thing by appointment. I turned on the bluetooth and called. Sure enough, we needed an appointment. But they didn't do piercings on Saturday, noooooo. GAH. I made an appointment for the following Tuesday at quarter to six. Not my favorite time of day to be out and about, but Elie had been so patient and I had taken forever to be ready. We could work it out.
I knew that I was supposed to have a drs appointment on Tuesday; I had it recorded for 4pm. Adam met me there, after I picked up the kids from school, and I headed in while he headed home. I got in and discovered the appointment was actually at 3pm. I was an hour late. Not a great way to start the afternoon off. But I figured I could wait until 5pm for the dr to squeeze me in. If I hadn't been seen by then, I would head home.
5pm comes and I reschedule, then I got in the car and screamed home. Elie was waiting, excited and ready to go. She hopped in, I put the postcode in the gypsy and we sped off....only to run into massive amounts of horrid traffic.
When we arrived at where the sat/nav thought the business was, it turned out we still had a mile and a half to go and we were at a stand-still. I called the place, frantically. I told the lady that we were on our way and we would be there as soon as we could get through the traffic. She seemed fine with that and understanding.
Elie spotted the business, it had taken us 20 minutes to go that mile and a half, and I navigated around some one way streets and through an alley to get to parking. We ran to the shop, crashed breathlessly through the door and the lady looked at us and said, "Oh, I have to close. I waited to tell you. I can't stay. Call back another day to reschedule."
We.were.devastated. Elie was still and quiet on the way home. There were a few tears, but mostly she was so grown up and so stoic. I tried to think of someplace, anyplace, that we could go to get it done and I came up empty handed.
We got home and ate a quiet and sad dinner. After the kids went upstairs, I sobbed in Dadam's arms because I was so disappointed and angry.
I don't believe that life is cake. I don't think that it is my job to protect my kids from disappointment. They have to learn how to deal with life not going their way. Life is disappointing. And for the most part, I do not feel guilty about the children experiencing disappointment. We don't go out of our way to dish it out, but we don't spoil them to avoid it either. But in this specific situation, I felt that disappointment so keenly. She was being so mature while it took ages for me to sort out how I wanted the situation to go. She handled the false start with aplomb and no upset. And we had made an appointment and done our best to get there and it just wasn't enough! ARGHGHGHGHGHGHG.
The next day I called around to a load of professional piercers and not a one of them would do an eight year old. Fine. I threw in the towel and decided that hundreds of thousands of Claire's customers can't be wrong. We're going to the f-ing mall.
After her piano lesson was done on Wednesday, we headed to the mall. Pop music blared from the mirrored ceiling as families shopped for all manner of garish accessories. Elie sat in a tall chair and picked her earrings. Gone are the days of birthstones and endless variety, choices are limited now. She chose red stones. The girl marked her ears and called the manager over to check her placement. The only part of the piercing gun that touched Elie was completely disposable. With the manager on one side and sales-girl on the other, they did them simultaneously.
Elie sat up straight as they went in, got wide eyed and took a big breath in. Then it was done. Finally done. I think I felt as relieved as she did.