Taking Me To Church: Ear Piercing Lady


Honey came home last Friday declaring her ambition to have pierced ears.

Honey is a gifted child who understands two important factors in achieving goals: persistence and consistency. She must have asked me to pierce her ears about 20 times in the first hour that she came home. Fast-forward to Saturday afternoon.

As we walked towards the shop she held my hand and asked, "Is it gonna hurt?"

"Yes," I replied.

Her eyes got big.

I regretted being so honest and added, "It will be really quick."

My inner moral compass thought maybe I wasn't being completely honest and I continued, "Like getting a shot".

Honey's mouth gaped open.

I decided to shut up.

She sat in the ear piercing high chair and carefully selected the pair she would commit to wearing for at least 6-weeks post piercing. Giant "diamond" solitaires. My girl.

The saleswoman gloved up and made small talk with Honey asking how old she was and commenting about how cute her ears were, stressing the fact that she sees a lot of ears and Honey's are really, really, cute.

I started thinking to myself, "Lady, is that the best you've got? You are about to harm my child on purpose and the most comforting chit-chat you can come up with is that her ears are cute?!?!"

Just as I was about to sweep in and say something amazing to give my daughter confidence that she could do this crazy, painful, scary thing, the saleswoman asked her, "Are you excited to pierce your ears?"

Honey's little feet were turbo kicking back and forth in the high chair and she was grinning from ear to ear. She replied, "Half excited and half scared".

Without missing a beat the saleswoman responded, "You know, I heard that the brain registers excited and scared as the same emotion. The only difference is how we respond to it. If we approach it in a positive way, we feel excited. If we approach it in a negative way, we feel scared. But, it's all the same thing. Breathe in. Count to three."

Click.

Honey's eyes were about as wide open as my heart was in that moment. That ear piercing lady had just taken me to church.

"OOOOUUUUCH", Honey whispered.

"Amen", I thought.

Just a few days before the ear piercing expedition, I too had sat in a chair, trembling. My dad sat across me explaining details of a biopsy and his thoughts about life.

"Dad", I blurted out, "I need to ask you something. You can say no. It's ok. If you say no, I will know that you still love me the same and I will love you the same. But I wanted to ask you something since January."

He looked at me, quiet and curious.

"All year I wanted to write."

"You wanted to what?"

"Write."

"Write what?" he asked.

"A book."

He looked confused. That was my cue that he needed a bit more information.

"I wanted to write a book called, 'The Days I've Lived'".

More silent confusion. He needed more information.

This was the moment for deep courage. I was already beginning to cry.

"On New Year's I heard you telling Jason about the first day you ever rode in a car going over 100 miles an hour and I wanted to ask you since that day if you would tell me stories about the days you've lived and felt so alive...."

Sisters, sometimes the only way to get through it is with a run-on sentence.

Silence.

He hadn't said no yet, so I took deep breaths to control my crying and continued.

"This is how I thought it would work. I would come up here some mornings and drink coffee and you would tell me about something from your life and I would record you. And then I would write what you said".

Dad shrugged. "I got no problem with that", he said.

I had gone over 9 months playing that conversation in my mind. Imagining that conversation with my dad. Scared. Excited. Scited. I had convinced myself that my imaginary version of the conversation was better than real life and I was content to just play it over and over in my mind.

But the imaginary version of the conversation with my dad never led me to what happened about a minute later. I had my first story. One from his childhood about hunting goats in his back yard with a bow and arrow.

So here's what I know about being scared.

A minute after the scared is amazing. A minute after the scared is diamond solitaire earrings and stories from dad about bow and arrow hunting goats in the back yard.

Just one minute after the scared.

What is it, Sisters, that has got you all scited? What is it that gets your feet kicking back and forth just thinking about it?

Don't wait.

Breathe.

Count to three.

Go.