Lucille woke up at 6:15 Saturday morning. She has always been an early riser, something this night-owl mama had to get used to long ago but this was early even for her. She crawled into our bed and snuggled down between me and Seth. She was still for about 32 seconds then she whispered in my ear.
“Is it time?” she said. “Are they open?”
“Not yet,” I mumbled. “They open at 10.”
She lay still for a few seconds more.
“When is 10?” she said.
“It’s in a few hours,” I said slowly realizing she was not going to let me go back to sleep.
“Uh!” she said loud enough to wake everyone else in the house. “A few hours!”
“It won’t be long,” I said. “I promise.” I got out of bed and headed for the French press. She followed me practically skipping across the room.
“I can’t believe I’m getting my ears pierced today!” she chirped. I was inching toward wakefulness but she was a live wire.
I made coffee and she chattered.
“Is it just like a bee sting? Or a tiny pinch? Not like a shot?” she said.
“I don’t remember it hurting like a bee sting but it will hurt a little,” I said plunging the French press.
“What time is it now?” she said.
“6:30,” I said. “Just three and half more hours.”
This is how we passed our morning: Lucille asking me every fifteen minutes how much longer until the mall opened, me responding with an answer she did not like and her responding with varying fits of frustration. Finally, I told her it was time to get dressed. She did, complete with coat and boots.
“I have to take a quick shower,” I told her. “I’ll be super fast.”
She stood at the bathroom door and knocked on the door halfway through my three-minute shower.
“I’m waiting mom,” she said.
“I know baby,” I said toweling off.
Two minutes later we walked toward the car.
“I’m a little nervous,” she said.
“It’s okay,” I said. “I’ll be right there and we don’t have to do this if you change your mind. Do you want to go check it out?”
“Oh, I’m not changing my mind,” she said. “But I’m still a little nervous.”
We drove to the mall and walked into the discount earring shop we have here. I’d thought of taking her to an actual piercer but decided this was more her speed. A woman with very blonde hair, a lot of eye makeup and no lie, inch long red fingernails said she could help us. She showed Lucille the earring choices and Lucille picked the largest fake diamond stud available.
“Do you think that might be a little big?” I asked.
“What about this one?” she said pointing to a pearl stud that was a little smaller.
“I like that one,” I said.
As the woman with red talons prepared all the necessary paperwork and supplies, Lucille practically twitched with excitement. When the clerk put on latex gloves Lucille’s eyes widened and she clutched “Biggie,” her giant teddy bear that she carries nearly everywhere.
“Ready?” the clerk asked.
Lucille nodded her head.
“You can hold my hand babe,” I said. “I’m right here.” I realized I was a little nervous too. I remember getting my ears pierced but not necessarily how bad it hurt so I wasn’t sure if I was being truthful about the bee sting business.
She held my hand tightly as the clerk drew purple dots on her ears and lined up the first shot. One. Two. Three. Lucille’s eyes looked expectant then filled with tears. She let out a little whimper as the woman with red talons circled us and deftly pierced the other ear within seconds. Red talons and all, she knew what she was doing. Lucille cried for a minute more then the clerk handed her a mirror and Lucille smiled through her tears.
“I can’t believe I got my ears pierced!” she said.
After a few hugs and a little investigating of the piercings, Lucille walked from mirror to mirror in the store as I paid and got follow up instructions. She pointed our several pairs of earrings she’d like when we pass the critical leave-them-in-for-six-weeks mark.
We walked to get frozen yogurt and she skipped along, Biggie in hand.
“I can’t believe I got my ears pierced!” she said over and over again.
When we got home she wanted to show Eliza first.
“Look!” she said.
And Eliza who could give two rips about getting her own ears pierced bent down to see her sister’s earrings.
“Lucille, those look great,” she said. “Did it hurt?”
“I only cried a little,” Lucille said looking at me for confirmation.
“Only a little,” I said. “You were a pretty brave girl.”
Eliza looked at me. Lucille looked at her sister and somehow we all knew we’d just come through a rite of passage.