five is a lovely number

SweetZ turned five last May. Five’s a pretty big deal. Five is when you get to start school. Five is when you really, really realize that your baby sister is a baby and you are a big girl. Five is when you begin to learn the art of turning a one-syllable word into a two-syllable word to show disdain: Mo-om, or Du-uh.

Five is when you realize that you want to get your ears pierced.

SweetZ has taken to inspecting my ears on a daily basis. I don’t wear earrings every day, and on those days she looks at me with this look that reminds me so much of my mom, it’s uncanny. A look that says, I’m really disappointed right now, but I love you anyway. But on a day when I’m wearing earrings, she grins, fingers them a little, and asks,

“Mom, can I get earrings?”

I was five when I got my ears pierced. I don’t have many vivid memories before this particular one, but they are as follows:

*In pre-school I punched a boy in the nose to protect my best friend, Tiffany. I don’t remember what he did to deserve it, but I remember feeling disgusted when he started crying. I mean, come on. Man up, dude.

*My dad teaching me to tie my shoes. We were sitting on the steps (that were carpeted with this hideous red-and-orange-and-green-and-yellow shag carpet), and he was reciting some poem that was supposed to help me learn. I don’t remember the poem; I just remember the timber of his voice as he spoke it. Deep and musical and patient. My dad is not a patient man, and I think that is partly why this memory has stuck with me so.

Neither one of these memories holds a candle to the memory of getting my ears pierced.

We’ve already established that I was five. Five-year old Myndi was spunky. She was stubborn. She was a-freaking-dorable (I’ve seen pictures. My cuteness knew no bounds). And I was jealous with a capital J.

My sister, who is two years older than me, had just gotten her ears pierced. The sight of those pretty gold balls on her ears was literally driving me insane. I wanted earrings, too. OH! How I wanted earrings. And so began what I like to call the The Great Earring March of ’83. I. Was. Relentless. I remember following my mom around, talking about earrings, asking if I could have earrings, begging for earrings, talk-talk-talk, ask-ask-ask, beg-beg-beg. I don’t know how long this went on. It felt like a lifetime. Looking back, I’m so totally shocked that these tactics worked. My mom wasn’t the type to give in to this kind of behavior.

Here’s something you need to know: I thought the pretty little gold balls on my sister’s ears were just that: little gold balls. I’d never looked at the back of her ears to see the stem protruding through her lobe. I had no clue that earrings required a scary-ass thing called ‘piercing’ – the equivalent of sticking a needle into your flesh.

I’m sitting on a stool at our local jewelers, buzzing with excitement. They draw dots on my earlobes that my mom scrutinizes. She makes the woman re-draw twice. The alcohol swab they use to clean the ink off with was cold. 

“Are you ready?” the nice jeweler lady asks. I nod. I was born ready. “Okay,” she says, and proceeds to hold a gun to my mother-trucking head.

A gun.

All my excitement is gone and I’m suddenly terrified and I can’t breathe and there’s no way to find the air I need to say NO! and BLAM! the gun goes off and pain is tearing through my ear because this lady just shot me and I’m looking at my mom, who is smiling this placid kind of smile and she says something but I can’t hear it because my pulse is rushing in my ears (it sounds like waves) and I tumble off the stool and take off running through the jewelry store onto the sidewalk outside and I turn left and pump my little legs as hard as I can and I can’t believe I’m not bleeding because that lady just shot me with her funny-looking gun and suddenly a pair of arms grabs me and heaves me up and I’m finally able to make noise and I start screaming and howling as the pair of arms carries me back into the jewelry store and I start dry-heaving because I know they’re going to do it again…

Parenthood has softened my heart toward this memory. I’m a mom now, so I get it – sometimes we miss how our kids perceive things. My mom never thought to tell me how ears were pierced, because it never occurred to her that I didn’t understand. She’d thought logic or common sense would have told me there would be pain involved. She was thinking like the twenty-something she was, not the five-year old I was. A mistake I’ve made countless times as a parent.

Anyway, a few hours later I was home, tears and fears dried up as I bragged about my earrings (and the ice-cream cone I’d scored after the whole debacle was over). My mom may or may not have had a stiff drink after; I know I would have needed one.

SweetZ is going to get her ears pierced soon. I want to do it for her now, when it’s something she wants just because she thinks earrings are pretty and she wants to be like me – not later, when it will be about fitting in and peer pressure. But I’ve told her, in terms quite certain, that it will hurt, and that it might even be a little scary.

She looks up at me with her grey-green eyes and those lashes that could literally knock you out, and thinks for a bit. “That’s okay, Mom,” she says. “I’m brave and smart and tough. I can handle it.”

Oh, mercy. I hope I can.




p.s. There’s still time to vote for the ring the Hubster designed for my wedding ring do-over. Click here and vote for #23. Voting ends on August 2. Thanks! (For the whole story, read my post WEDDING RING DO-OVER.)



  1. Marcy Kennedy says:

    And you have just listed the reason why, at over 30, I still do not have my ears pierced. I don’t do pain or needles well 🙂 But this story made me laugh out loud 🙂

    • Fantasy For the Rest of Us. says:

      I can totally relate! World’s biggest chicken over here. If I’d known what it entailed, I totally would have backed out, jealous or not! It’s why I’ll never get a tattoo, even though I really, really, really, really want one. 😉

  2. Larissa says:

    I have been dreading the day Abigail asks me about it. In fact there have been times when I thought she was going to pop the question and I waited with my breath held hoping against hope this was not that day! I remember getting mine done at 14 and I still cried. Then one closed up OVER the stud and I had to push it through the skin myself, then once it healed and closed up completely I went to get it re-pierced. Holy guacamoly! That was ten times worse! So far Abigial has not asked and I hope that lasts a good long time. She is rather wussy about pain and I do not think she or I would do well getting it done now. Talk about needing a stiff drink, my babies in pain I do not handle well. I would need one just to go to the appointment! All that aside doing those mommy, daughter days that are truly girly are so much fun. Good luck with Zoey and her earring journey!

  3. Kassandra Lamb says:

    ROFL Myndi you can tell a tale like no other! And you are so right about adults not always thinking about how a kid will see it. I made that mistake multiple times as well and I’m a freakin’ psychologist (who teaches developmental psych, no less).

  4. Jess Witkins says:

    LOL. I can’t believe you took off running out of the store! I didn’t get my ears pierced until 8th grade. And then not long after I got a second hole pierced too on each ear. I’m with SweetZ. Earrings are beautiful! 😀

    • Fantasy For the Rest of Us. says:

      Fight or flight, right? Guess we all know which one I am. I lost the fear of the piercing gun as I got older – I have three in my left lobe and two in my right (though I never wear anything in them anymore). LOVE earrings, too!

  5. Rhonda Hopkins says:

    LOL! I can totally relate. I didn’t get out of the store – but I did jump off the stool and was about to take off after the first one. But even at 6 I was tall and easily grabbable. (Yes, it’s a word. I just made it up.) I don’t remember the pain so much as being startled when it went off and the pressure. 😉 I love your funny stories!

    • Fantasy For the Rest of Us. says:

      I’m sure the actual pain was FAR less than what my brain imagined it to be. Maybe part of it was that I was raised around guns, and the constant lecturing that getting shot would either leave you dead or horribly maimed had something to do with it. *grin* I’m glad I’m not the only runner in here!

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