Righting a Wrong

When I was a little girl, more than anything, I wanted to be a grown-up. I really despised the confines of youthful dependence. My desires weren’t based on wanting to run buck-wild (that’s never been me at all). I was ready to speed through childhood so that I could get on with life. I was ready to dispense with—what I perceived as—the inconsequentials and get to the good stuff: independence, self-sufficiency, self-made wealth, decision-making, marriage, family, and career. (Yep. I know you are laughing. With youth also came idealism and naivete.)

A true hallmark of being a grown-up for me was having pierced ears. From the time I realized there were such things (probably at age five or six), I begged my mother for pierced ears.

“No,” she had said, over and over.

I moaned. I groaned. I complained. I begged. I cried. Some days I thought I couldn’t live another minute without holes in my ears.

I’m not sure why she refused. I think she mumbled, “little girls don’t wear earrings,” or some such thing.

Honestly, to this day, I don’t understand her logic. If I had wanted to wear hoops to my ankles with fish-net hose and a low-cut halter top, I could have understood her concern. But, in my opinion, small star or heart studs do not a hooker make. Not then. Not now.

Finally, she committed to giving permission for pierced ears (and makeup!) on my 13th birthday. Ah, yes. The rite of passage into the teen years. I counted the days to September 27, 1983, with more enthusiasm than a convict’s anticipating parole.

And so, it came to pass. I’ll never forget the extreme pleasure of having pierced ears for my school pictures that year.

Now, the ironic part of the story comes as my sister, Laura—two years younger than I—decided she wanted pierced ears a few months after me.

In what is an inexplicable turn of events after the years of stalwart refusal to me (the prostitute wanna-be that I was), my mother relented, granting my sister’s request with little negotiation and fanfare. And like that, my sister was pierced well before her 13th birthday.

This did not sit well then. And, you see, the injustice of it all haunts me to this day (I’ll be 39 next week).

So, when my daughter started asking for pierced ears at age 5, I muttered something like, “Hmmm. We’ll see and talk to Daddy.” Inside, my heart fluttered and my tummy did a little somersault.

On her sixth birthday, my little angel (no prostitute-in-waiting here) got her lobes decorated with some precious pink flowers about half the size of my pinky nail.

My parents came to her birthday dinner the next night.

“Mom! Look. Susanna got her ears pierced for her birthday,” I showed her off like a prize-winning zucchini at the county fair.

“Yea. Well, aren’t those cute?” She paused as she recalled the past. “Oh, I remember. I wouldn’t let y’all get yours pierced for several years.”

I had the accurate historical record ready. “Well, I had to wait until I was 13. And Laura? Laura got hers done shortly after mine. Nowhere near her 13th birthday.”

She kind of nodded and chortled, unfazed by my logical presentation and vivid reminder of such an obvious display of inequity.

Daddy jumped in.

“What you’re saying is, that you had to wait. But Laura didn’t.”

“Precisely. And now my daughter got her ears pierced at six. I choose to live vicariously through my daughter.” I finished that with a little “huff,” crossed my arms, and said in my head, so there.

“Well, OK,” she smiled and nodded.

I think the many years had mellowed her opinion and her resolve on youthful ear piercing. Really, I’m pretty sure she could care less at this point.

I, however, was quite satisfied.

Justice or revenge or something had finally been served.