“Let’s get mother/daughter tattoos, maybe with a heart design,” she suggested.
I demurred. Her skin was so fragile and thin. A needle piercing would be dangerous at her age. And secondarily, I had no desire to have my skin pricked with needles.
Lastly, I’m not too proud to admit I’m not into unnecessary pain.
Disappointed, my mom didn’t bring up the subject again. A few years later she drifted into dementia, and she died from Covid at the age of 96.
It’s now a year since her passing, and I’m walking the Ocean City, NJ Boardwalk with my granddaughter and her friend, both 13. For some reason, they like having me along on this rainy day, winds and waves caused by a recent hurricane visible from the Boards. My daughter and her younger sons are dawdling behind us.
Sophie suddenly sprints into her favorite summer store, where two years earlier she’d had her ears pierced. She pleads to my daughter, “Please, Mom? You promised!” And before I can fathom the request, Sophie’s middle ear lobe is wiped with alcohol and a quiet, small woman hovers a staple gun (at least, that’s what it looks like) toward my granddaughter’s ear.
“I’m here for you!” Sophie’s friend promises, and she holds Sophie’s hand as a tiny (fake) diamond stud is zapped into her tender ear lobe. Sophie barely flinches, and then the other ear lobe is zapped.
She stands up with a huge smile on her face. The tiny earrings sparkle happily. And then my sweet granddaughter gazes at me and suggests, “Wouldn’t it be neat if we had identical second earrings, Madre?”
My mom would not allow me to have my ears pierced when I was 10, or 15, or ever, so in my second year of college, when my dorm mates insisted they could pierce my ears, I agreed. With half a dozen friends surrounding me, one of them held an ice cube behind my ear lobe and poked a sewing needle into the other side. It hurt, plus I could hear the crunching since it took a while to get the needle all the way in. Then, we had to repeat the step on the other ear. I’m guessing I had a drink or two during the process.
I’ve loved wearing earrings ever since. In fact, I have three earring stands filled with coveted possessions. But I have no desire for a second earring in my ear lobe, and in fact, never particularly liked the look of it.
And I turn to Sophie and say, “What a great idea.”
As I sit on the “piercing chair” and wait for the zap, Sophie holds one hand, and my grandson holds the other. I’m not afraid of the stapler, but I soak up their support and love.