My youngest daughter, who is 10, finally got up the nerve to undergo a ritual that most young women (and some young men) endure at some point in their lives. She got her ears pierced.

I’m not one of the moms who got her girls’ ears pierced in infancy. It’s something I wanted them to experience for themselves, and when and where they got it done was their decision to make. I think I was around 12 when I got my ears pierced. I barely remember it, and I can’t recall which one of New Jersey’s many malls I had them done at – could’ve been Paramus Park, but it also could’ve been Willowbrook. I just don’t remember.

What I do remember is that they closed. I fell out of the habit of wearing the earrings before the holes were really established, and they sort of closed up. You could see the hole, but an earring would not go through easily. I have a distinct memory of when I re-opened them. I sterilized a sewing needle over the stove, iced down my lobes until I could barely feel anything, and jabbed in the hole until the needle went all the way through. I was sitting in my parents bedroom watching the original King Kong – the 1933 black and white version.

Why can I remember that so clearly, yet have zero clue as to when I got them pierced the first time? The brain is a mystery, that’s for sure.

I’m not sure what switched on in my daughter’s brain to give her the guts to sit in that chair at Claire’s. For the past year she had paled at the thought of facing the piercing gun even though my oldest girl and I tried to convince her to do it. Her sister got her ears done when she was 10 also. It was a spur of the moment decision – we were out shopping for her birthday, I suggested it and she agreed. She said it hurt, but didn’t cry, and then we got ice cream to celebrate.

But my oldest was always an easy child. She still is. To my youngest this was a big deal. It involved pain – pain in the face of strangers because there are always on-lookers when you get your ears pierced. The thought of crying in front of a crowd of tweenie-boppers probably scared her more than the actual procedure did. But for some reason, the planets were in line that fine Friday afternoon, and she agreed it was time to get it done.

We had to wait though. A mom was getting her little girl’s ears done that day too. This girl was no more than 3 and clueless as to what she was about to undergo. When the first earring went in she winced, pondered and slowly made a boo-boo face. She cried, but she cried softly – I was impressed. Most kids that age would’ve screamed bloody murder, and there was still one ear to go! I was afraid my girl, who was taking the entire scene in, would back out for sure.

But she didn’t. She picked out her earrings, sat in the chair, and looked worriedly at me while I signed the papers to have her inducted into the league of women lobers. We had an audience too, which was the last thing she wanted. Another girl came in to get her second piercing and her whole family was watching while my baby got prepped for her  procedure.  After the first earring went in, I could see her eyes begin to well just  a little. But my little trooper held them in and took the second ear piercing with grace and dignity.

We hugged and congratulated her, I told her how proud I was that she finally got it done, and then we went and had some gummy candy.

And so far so good. He ears look great – no redness or sign of infection. She likes to put on the solution three times a day and twirl the studs to promote good hole formation. And she can’t wait until the 2 months are up so she can change the earrings for something more fun than boring little blue balls.

And let’s hope she doesn’t want to get anything else pierced…