I had to make a decision. Go with my daughter to get her nose pierced, or protest and watch her go alone next week when she turns eighteen.
I am not part of the group who loves ink and piercing. Perhaps it’s my advancing age, or that I grew up in a household that didn’t put even a bumper sticker on a car. Self expression was not encouraged in a showy way, especially nothing permanent.
That’s worked for me, since I had a phobic fear of needles and pain. When I turned twelve, my mother wanted me to get my ears pierced, and I was ready for earrings, but not the pain. So we found sleepers, a self-piercing earring. No needles or guns for me.
When my daughter told me she wanted a nose piercing six months ago, I was surprised. She hates pain as much as I do. I figured she was just floating it out there to gauge my reaction.
She did not get her ears pierced until she was eight, because I wanted to make sure she could take care of them. She had a couple of problems early on, but she learned that she had to take care of her ears and keep the holes open. A couple of years ago, she had a second hole put in her ears. She knew the drill.
The nose piercing was different. Here was something a little more radical, and located prominently on her face. Her beautiful face. I struggled with the thought of her marring her beauty. Ultimately, it was her choice. I could protest, or go and support her. I chose to make it her birthday present.
Sitting in the piercing studio as she and her friend were in the consult room on the other side of the glass, I tried to figure out why I was so conflicted. This was her first true decision made as an adult. She had researched it, watched videos, and talked to friends. I was proud of the care she took before deciding where and how to have this procedure done.
I realized she is, just like her brothers, now beyond me as Mom, Mommy, Mama. I am always going to be their mother, but I am no longer their primary source of all things. They have come into their adulthood, and I’m proud of each one of them.
I remembered how perfect each baby was as they were placed in my tired, but eager arms after long labors. Tiny fingers and toes, perfect skin with no blemishes, newly minted beauties. I remember how I cried when each got their first vaccinations, and how my heart ached every time they hurt.
That feeling, no matter how old they are, stays with a mother. So as I watched my daughter get pierced through the viewing glass, my eyes stung with the shared pain of the needle, and the solo pain of separation~ as she enters adulthood.