It was on Maya’s fourth birthday that my best friend took
her to get her ears pierced. They were
both so excited about it. I can only
imagine the scene: Maya feeling scared,
but putting on her brave face. Gem
telling her what a big and courageous girl she was.
I say I can only imagine it because I wasn’t
there. In fact I had no idea that this
was even being considered. And I know
that I didn’t necessarily handle it very well. (Unfortunately, I can be that way sometimes. I’m working on it, but it’s a long way to knee
jerk tact for me.)
Anyway, I was so surprised by this change. It wasn’t that Gem had done so without
consulting me. Our friendship didn’t
work that way, still doesn’t. (Although,
Gem, if you read this. Chris is hoping
to take her for her first tattoo. Maya
just rolls her eyes when he brings the idea up.)
Nope, it was not about permission, or toe stepping or any of
that nonsense. It was just that standing
there with her new bejeweled ears; she did indeed look so mature. In a matter of a few hours my baby had turned
into a real live girl.
I’d long known
that she had her own ideas about things. She practically jumped out of the womb speaking in full, well
articulated sentences. Heck, she even
had her own, somehow tailored, bohemian style. But now, with the grown up ears, I knew that there was no turning
back. She would never again be my tiny baby. It hit me that her childhood
would go by so much faster than mine did. And I’d better watch out, or I’d miss it.
It’s been ten years now. Maya is now taller than I am, and almost taller than Chris. She’s entering high school next year and
working very hard on her grades in hopes of getting scholarships to college. And I just can’t believe the daily
juxtaposition of little girl and young woman I still get to watch in her.
Well, yesterday was Maya’s birthday. She turned 14.
So you know what we did? We went to the mall – to Claire’s. There Chris presented Maya with her birthday
present from him…a second set of holes in her ears.
I stood back, since it wasn’t actually my gift, but I was
there. I got to watch as she picked out
the jewelry, and squirmed nervously, hoping that it wouldn’t hurt too
Standing there, I watched this American rite of passage
turned birthday present happening between them. And just for a moment, I could see my little
girl before me. She was just as full
of grace and beauty as ever.
birthday, Maya. I love you.