Mall accessory stores proudly advertise free ear-piercing with the purchase of earrings. One day in particular, observers were appalled to see a mother holding her screaming daughter in the ear piercing chair. People begin to gather and gawk and looks of judgment flashed across their faces. To those who have stopped, it appears this mother was forcing her child to endure the pain of pierced ears.
Mothers, caring mothers, are held to scrutiny of the public. The public assumes the mother is a failure based on a 3 minute observation. They will harshly judge her and never offer a hand to help or word of encouragement. I mean, you wanna tell me that every Lil’ Johnny before 2013 was a perfect saint everyday of their life? No! We have all had a turn with the unruly child in public or had to make a tough decision, although not easily apparent, in the child's best interest.
The mother holding her child in the seat at Claire’s accessory store - was me! From the perspective of the on-lookers, gathered at the climax of our dilemma, it appeared as though I was forcing my child to get her ears pierced against her will! Those who judged my parenting decision as incompetent looked at me with detest.
What they were not able to discern from the 2 minutes of their observation, which by the way it was the longest 2 minutes of my life, was my daughter, Kylie had begged from me to take her to get her ears pierced for 2 years! After I finally determined she was old enough to understand the procedure and the little pain involved with getting pierced ears, I took her. As a matter of fact this was our second trip to Claire’s in two days.
The day before this occurrence, she was excited and as a family we were excited for her. But as the time drew closer fear began to steal her excitement. As we walked in the store it was clear she was becoming more apprehensive but still wanted to go through with it. She watched two other girls get their ears done without a tear. I filled out the necessary paper work for her and my younger daughter who was now interested. As a way to procrastinate she suggested her younger sister go first. I asked my younger daughter,Lilly, if she was sure she wanted her ears pierced? And if she wanted to go first? She said yes. I requested they do them at the same time. Done, with only a slight tear.
Kylie, was now on the spot. She said she changed her mind. She wanted it but not today. The technician, tried to convince her it doesn’t hurt that bad. Then she made a statement, shaming her for letting her little sister go first. I told the lady thanks but no thanks, if she is not ready we are ok with her decision. We paid for one set of ear piercing and left the store.My husband and I made it clear to our daughter the decision was up to her. If she changed her mind in the next few weeks we would gladly take here back to the store to try again. We also discussed that Satan tries to steal our joy and excitement through fear ultimately stealing our desires. During her apprehension, I encourage her to focus on her verse that helps her overcome fear regularly. Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. She did well, but would quickly revert to her fear. This is true from all of us when we face fears of all kinds. We are gipped with crippling fears that take hold of our faith in God’s word and our hope in Jesus.
My husband and I both felt like Kylie made the wrong decision but we talked to her gave her plenty of chances to change her mind, and then we put it to rest. However, in fairness we wanted to honor Lilly’s bravery. She was very happy with her choice to pierce her ears. She enjoyed showing her new earrings to family and friends. Of course, the compliments were here favorite part!
Later that evening Kylie asked, “Mommy can you take me back to Claire’s tomorrow?”
“Sure.” I replied, “But you have to complete all your school-work with a good attitude.”
“Ok, Mommy. But can I sit in your lap and get one ear done at a time?”
In an attempt to persuade her otherwise I said, “Sweetie you are welcome to sit in my lap but I think you should have both ears done at the same time or you may chicken out on the second ear.”
In a serious voice she said, “I won’t mommy. I promise. I want them done separately.”
The next day she was very eager to get her school work complete. We talked again about fears stealing our joy. I also reiterated that I feel it would be best if both ears were done at the same time, she still wanted them pierced separately. As promised, after school we were off to Claire’s, again.
Again, I filled out her consent form.
Again, I made sure this is what she wanted.
Again, I suggested both ears at the same time.
Again, fear filled her mind after she sat in the chair. I told her we could leave and can come back when she is older. She said no, I don’t want to wait I want them today. The first ear was done, she remarked that didn’t hurt! I want a break.My mistake was, I let her take a minute between the ears.
It was these 2 minutes that I was judged by what people saw. Fear rushed my daughters mind again and she refused to let the tech do the other ear. Suddenly people gathered and gawked, looking down upon me with detest. I literally called out to the crowd, she really does want this! In a two minute observation they saw me hold her for the 2nd ear, they assumed the worst and I was embarrassed. They also do not know how dramatic Kylie is, she can
literally laugh from her belly and cry from her heart in the same breath! Their perception was not reality.
What we perceive is going on may not be actually happening as we think. We cannot tell from 2 minutes what is actually going on in a person’s life. What we perceive is not necessarily true reality; this concept is part of base of our faith. This is why we must approach all things with grace and even encouragement for others. We can be the person God uses to breathe life or death into a weary soul!
Well the good news is, as soon as the tech was finished, my daughter was instantly happy with her choice to get her ears pierced. I, however, was emotionally drained for the evening. But can laugh about it now! I can go on and on about how we quickly judge mothers in a moment of distress but I encourage you, if nothing else, pray for her. We have all been in her shoes. And if something truly wrong, prayer will create a ripple effect unlike any judgment we cast.
We rested at the play area there was one other family present, a mother and her one perfect son. I am sure she overheard my snippiness with my girls, but I didn’t care. She has no idea what I just went through! Should I have been snippy, no, should I have given more grace, yes. But we will talk about giving grace to others when we are not in the mood, on another day, when I am in the mood. I have learned enough for one day!
Michelle Pohl is a storyteller who encourages ladies to begin Blooming With Joy through every chaotic moment, disappointment and mess. She is a mamma of three and a wife of one.
Every Wednesday, on her blog, she posts a humors story and de-stressing tip called Mid-week Manic Mamma Encouragement: Joy in Chaos
Visit: www.BloomingWithJoy.comLike: www.facebook.com/bloomingwithjoy