Shiny Green Confidence

How often do events culminate in an enforced shopping trip? For me, never.


1) A graduation near Rock Hall, Maryland booked up every hotel in the area on the weekend of Kirk’s triathlon.

2) The closest hotel was in Annapolis, Maryland (home of my favorite go-to mall)

3) He had to pick up his packet and scope out the area on the day before the tri.


These three little things meant that Kirk’s support crew (the girls and I), were “stuck” in Annapolis for the 3-4 hours that it would take him to drive to Rock Hall, pick up his stuff, and come back to the area. The mall, amazingly enough, was his idea. (Crazy, huh? What was he thinking?)

And there was much rejoicing when the girls heard the news. “Stuck” in the mall for 3-4 hours?!?!? Oh the horrors. How will we ever do it?

It was a good thing, really. They actually needed a few things which is rare, but swim suits are a necessity around here and they needed shorts that would fit. My crazy girls all grew this year despite my best efforts to keep them small.

The highlight of the day (for me – the tweens would argue that it was the accumulation of bags hanging from their arms), was the moment that we got in view of Starbucks and the moment an hour later.

No, it wasn’t the coffee, it was the voice. Elise’s.

She saw Starbucks too.


“Yes, Elise.”

“I see Starbucks. Claire’s is next door and it made me think about getting my ears pierced.”

“Do you want your ears pierced?”

“Kinda. But…”

And this is when she confessed her dilemma… wanting earrings, but fearing pain.

I haven’t been campaigning for this. It was and always has been her decision, once she turned 10, which was three weeks ago.

Until today she’d told me she didn’t want them pierced, but she’s obviously been thinking about it. She was nervous, but wanted real earrings.

We went to Delia’s with Luci and Aria to give her time to think while they tried on clothes.  She was stressing. Her eyes were red tinged and glassy. She was over-thinking – a common activity with my sensitive girl.

“You don’t have to get them pierced.”

“But I want them pierced.”

Pep talks and logic ensued… Yes, it will hurt, but only like a shot or a bee sting.

“But bee stings HURT!”

Ok… bad example. Yes, it will hurt, but only for a second and then you’ll have earrings for a lifetime. Don’t let fear keep you from doing something that you really want to do. Look at all these girls with their ears pierced. If it was so awful, do you think we’d all be going it – and some even get them pierced multiple times!

Yes, I was on a roll… I came up with every talking point I could come up with. One of the sales clerks at Delia’s added her positive piercing story.  We finally left Delia’s and got to Claire’s right behind a little girl who was going to get hers pierced again. Perfect. One great, easy piercing to show her it would be easy, and then her turn.

Nope.  Long story short, little girl clamped her hands over hear ears and began to cry and wouldn’t stop, but wouldn’t leave because she wanted them pierced. Elise stared wide-eyed and kept saying, “I’m not sure I’m going to do this.”

More encouragement… offers to leave and do this another day if she wanted… a lot of stalling.

Finally a teenager came in for a second set of holes. After the first hole, the teen laughed and said smiling, “that wasn’t bad at all!”

That’s all it took.

Elise went next.

Yes, they hurt – “More than a shot,” according to E, but she was absolutely beaming! Oh my goodness… that smile was broader than anything I’ve seen in a while.

She chose birthstone earrings heading to dinner with little green “emeralds” in her ears and a smile brighter than any shiny gem.

Later I heard that sweet little voice again as she looked up at me.

“Mom, since I’ve turned 10, I’ve done two things now that I was scared of before.” Yes, she has. And the confidence is just as beautiful as her emerald smile.


My lesson:  For me, at the time, it was a simple thing. If she wanted them pierced, fine. If she didn’t, that was fine too, but I knew then that if she left without them pierced, she’d feel defeated. I wouldn’t push too hard nor let her sisters pester her.  She had to want it enough to overcome her trepidation.

To Elise, it was bigger. This wasn’t about the frivolity of earrings. This was about conquering fear that held her back and gaining new confidence which is so much bigger than all the rest.  And she did – and though we’re all so very proud of her, I think she’s also proud of herself which means just as much if not more.

I’m glad she stayed and waited, thankful her sisters didn’t pester her too much and ruin the moment, and appreciative that her dad was excited for her even though our longer-than-usual piercing ordeal made us significantly late meeting him for dinner.

About Tiffany

I'm eclectic. Sometimes that's a good thing because I can do bits of everything. Sometimes it's aggravating because I get distracted by so many amazing things. Mostly, I love photography and family, travel and writing, cooking, reading, art, and coffee. Sundays are church days to regroup and refocus. God's in charge here.

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