Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Ear Piercing . . .

In many Italian families, when baby girls are born, they usually get their ears pierced as infants.  However, my mother elected not to that that with me and I decided to get mine pierced when I was a tween. She took me to the family doctor, who took out a curved piercing implement, did each ear separately and inserted some surgical black thread so the hole wouldn't close while it healed. It was painful. Not so sure if I had a "do over" I would have done it again, but no regrets.

When I had my own daughters, instead of following the old tradition, I did what my mother did and left their ears alone. I figured if they really wanted to get their ears pierced one day they could make that decision for themselves. However,  I didn't foresee that my older daughter would want to make that decision at 5 years old. She came home from kindergarten one day asking if she could get her ears pierced because "so-and-so" had their ears pierced.  I might have taken her to get it done, but I wanted to be sure she really wanted her ears pierced for the right reasons and not just because someone else had them. I told her ear piercings are permanent and she couldn't change her mind after the fact. I agreed that she could get her ears pierced if she still wanted to do it when she was seven. That way she would have plenty of time to think about it and, if she still wanted it done, we would do it a month before her birthday and then we would get her earrings for her birthday presents. She agreed.

Two years is a very long time to wait when you are 5 years old, but she did. As her seventh birthday drew near she reminded me of our agreement and said she still wanted to get her ears pierced.  My stomach did a flip flop because I knew she had no idea of the pain involved no matter how I tried to prepare her. I found a jewelry store that pierced both ears simultaneously, because knowing my daughter, if they did them one at a time she wasn't going to stay for the second ear.  This time they used some sort of "gun" which injected little earrings right into the lobe and both ears were done! It was relatively simple. She was a little trooper. Of course, as it often is with younger sisters, my younger daughter also wanted hers pierced, but I made the same deal with her.

For my daughter's birthday she got three new pairs of earrings: gold balls, pearls, and diamonds (her birthstone).  You would think that chapter was now closed. Nope.

Three or four years later "so-and-so"got a second piercing above the first one so she could wear two pairs of earrings in each ear.  A new fad that was probably started just to drive parents crazy. My daughter came home wanting to get a second piercing in each ear.  Now I am a reasonable person and I live to make my children happy, but I wasn't going along with a fad and add two extra holes to my daughters head. So I told her no, that wasn't happening.  I explained that sooner or later this great new "look" was not going to be popular and she would be stuck with these extra holes in her ears forever. Besides that, and as a compromise, I told her if she wanted that "look," they have earrings that are designed to make it look like you have two piercings without going through another ordeal. That seemed to satisfy her.

To this day she still only has the one piercing in each ear. I think I made the right call.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Teacher's Gift . . .

Picture it. Third grade in an elementary school in 1995. It's nearing Christmas and the parents of my daughter's third grade class decided to take up a collection for one really good gift from all the children, instead of a lots of little gifts.  The parents agree, and a nice little sum of money was accumulated.  One of the mothers, who was also a teacher, suggested getting Mrs. Glazer, the teacher, a set of beautiful art books for the classroom. Everyone agreed this would be a perfect gift that would not only benefit our children, but many future students who would be in her class.  I wasn't present when the gift was delivered and opened, but I heard about the aftermath for days, weeks and months after in the schoolyard while waiting to pick up my daughter.

It seems the old expression "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth." did not apply here.  Nor was the gift graciously received. Rather, the teacher was offended and told the parents, in so many words, that this gift was not for her at all, but for their children. There was nothing personal about it the gift.  Naturally, as you would expect, the parents were now also offended as they put thought into the gift and probably had to add to the sum of money collected in order to purchase it.

Fast forward to the end of the school year. June was fast approaching and there was little matter of the end of the year gift for the teacher. Normally I wouldn't be involved in these matters, I would just be contributing whatever amount was agreed on for each parent.  However, no one wanted to be responsible for purchasing the year end gift from the class. So they all got the bright idea to ask me to do it. I wasn't involved in the Christmas fiasco so I had no hard feelings one way of the other. And, when they approached me to buy the gift for the teacher and something additional for her aide, I said yes.  I wasn't afraid of taking on this project and suffering the consequences.

I decided to keep my daughter home from school for a mother-daughter day. I planned to go to the mall with her to do some shopping, pick out both gifts and allow her to have some input.  Afterwards we would go to lunch at a nice restaurant.  Off we went to Macy's!  My first and only thought is that the teacher wanted something personal and what woman doesn't like jewelry?  We went directly to the jewelry counter and looked around. We saw a nice pair of dangling earrings that seemed elegant to me (but what do I know) and my daughter approved. With the few dollars we had left we were able to get another pair of earrings for the aide.  Mission accomplished! I asked for gift receipts just in case Mrs. Glazer didn't like the earrings (you never know.)

My daughter and I went to lunch at a restaurant near our house, that I drove past twice a day for three years, taking my younger daughter to her school. Of course we were going there from the mall instead of my house, and having directional dyslexia, I got us lost somehow.  So, I simply drove home and started out again and this time we made it to the restaurant and had a nice lunch. (I wonder if my daughter even remembers all this?)

The day of the gifting finally arrives. The gifts were to be presented to the teacher and aide in the classroom during a special viewing for the parents of the Family Tree projects that the children were supposed to be working all year. ( I say supposed to be because some looked like they were prepared the day before.) The albums and pictures were on display and all the children had a little something to say about their families and ancestry.  I was standing there with the gift receipts in my bag just waiting for the reaction to the gift.  Mrs. Glazer could not be happier with her earrings and came over to thank me. I told her if she would prefer a different style I had the gift receipt, but she refused, saying she loved them.  The aide also came over to thank me for her lovely gift.  All's well that ends well.

P.S. Valentine's Day is around the corner. If any men are reading this blog just remember to go get your lady jewelry. Forget the roses, they die. Forget the chocolate, that lasts less time than roses. Jewelry lasts forever and I have yet to meet a woman who doesn't like jewelry.