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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ella's big event/those parenting moments you feel like you got right

Last week Ella asked me if she could get her ears pierced someday.

I told her (once we discussed it fully with Mommy) she could get her ears pierced as soon as she was ready to take care of them and could save up the money herself.

She told me she had lots of money so that wasn't a problem.

We have talked about instituting an allowance but money has never really mattered to Ella so we never really have.  I think that is all about to change.  She has been working like an industrious beaver all week trying to secure work for herself that will earn her cash.

I am careful not to pay her for things that she should be doing anyway (picking up her toys and dirty clothes, clearing her spot at the table, helping set the table).  She has been helping fold and put away laundry, helping me out with Maya (I can use all the help I can get, even from a six-year-old) and fetching things for us when we need them.

We sat at the kitchen table Wednesday morning and counted all her bills and coins.  I think her grandparents must be funneling most of their pocket change to our kids because she had an astounding $21.50 in her piggy bank that she has saved since she last cleaned it out in April.  Talk about an educational opportunity to teach about money and have her truly grasp what the value of each currency meant toward her goal.  ("Oh, I only need four of these but I need one hundred of these to make a dollar!") I thought it would take her a couple of weeks to earn it but by Thursday (and with one I.O.U. to her grandmother for some dusting to be done on Beals Island next week that was granted advance pay) she had the $25 plus tax she needed to get her ears pierced.

The date was set for yesterday afternoon.  We gave her all the information about what it would feel like and what she would need to do to take care of them and she was so confident and ready. We watched a video about ear piercing.  We counted down the days. We made a trip to the bank to cash in her rolled coins and she went, sequined bag in hand, up to Claire's boutique for her big moment.

Nervous, but certain.

Selecting the earrings.  Maya, looking on anxiously about what this woman was going to do to her big sister.
Ella asked if she could sit on my lap for comfort.  Naturally, Maya needed to as well.  I started to get really nervous for Ella and got that flippy feeling in my belly.  She held very still as the two employees wielding piercing guns stood on each side of her.  She gave one quick jerk of surprise at the sharp pain and I thought she was going to burst into tears but she turned and smiled at me.

She was so damn proud of herself.  And we were so proud of her.  She decided what she wanted and, with our blessing and support, she made it happen for herself.  We did very little but I felt like all our years of encouraging her and pushing her to be a little braver than she dared had finally paid off.

It felt like she flew from the nest a little yesterday.  And, amazingly, instead of being sad and wistful, I was proud of her and of us as her parents.  I felt like we had done something good and sound.  Not in letting her pierce her ears, but by letting her be.  Just be.   I felt like she had stored up all our years worth of encouragement and certainty in her like a squirrel storing nuts for winter, and finally revealed them with a big "TA DA!" 

It was hard to get a good shot of her earrings because she had had enough of me photographing her.  But they are pretty purple tanzanite stars that sparkle like her eyes.

And luckily, she isn't so big that she no longer wants to ride on the carousel.

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