I will never forget.

Yesterday, as I said, I had a tough day. I rebounded, though, primarily because of your supportive notes and comments and messages, so I thank you. I feel blessed.

Today, however, is a day that I will never forget. And that because today was one of my best days as a parent; one of the best times of my life.

Let me first tell you a story.

Six months ago, my daughter woke up one morning and told me that she was ready to get her ears pierced. I had been encouraging her, so I was excited, and picked her up from camp with my mom, her J, who is her godmother, those pastel colored mint nonpareils and many promises of things that she would desire.

We trekked through the mall and found the piercing station, signed all of the paperwork, picked out the earrings and then my daughter completely freaked out. Like, epic, screaming, wailing, terrified of the marker freak out. She was, evidently, not ready. #fail.

It is a subject that has come up on and off since the summer and the conversation has always ended with, “You know what? I am not quite ready yet. I will get my ears pierced when I am ready.”

This morning, out of nowhere, my daughter woke up, came into my room and said, “Mom, I am ready,” with great conviction.

We talked about it and she didn’t back down.

And then, I had a minor anxiety attack. Because of logistics and the hours during which I have my sitter, I  knew that I would have to get her ears pierced around lunch time or a bit after so that I could go without the baby, as I had childcare during those hours only. My daughter attends school 9am-3pm. The idea occurred to me that I could keep her home from school today (I looked at the temperature on my phone and it read 5 degrees) for a special date. But for some reason this made me feel like a bad mother.

I consulted with my husband. I asked my best friends for their opinions. I asked J, who is, among many other specialties, a licensed child psychologist. I posted the question in the incredible Mommy, Ever After community group. “Am I wrong to keep my daughter home from school today to get her ears pierced?” My anxieties were not about academics (she is doing just fine) or the social component (she loves school and has many friends) but for some reason I feared that by keeping her home for no reason would give her school anxiety. And then I thought back to my childhood, when my mom would give me and my sister “mental health days”. My sister and I both went to graduate school, she is an award winning journalist, and neither of us feared school or had trouble making friends or keeping up. The response that I received from my friends was a rousing, “Yes! Keep her home! There is nothing to worry about!” (By the way, in case you are reading this and happen to be one of her teachers, please know that a big part of my anxiety was due to the fact I value and adore you to no end).

So I took a deep breath and emailed the school and said that my daughter would be absent today.

This afternoon, while the baby was at being watched, I had a date with my daughter. On our drive to the mall we had incredible conversations. We talked about being nervous and about how important it is to not let our fears stop us from doing things that we want to do. I did not want to give her any of my phobias, but she already knows that I don’t like snakes, so I used that as an example. “Even though I don’t like snakes, I love to hike in the woods and be in nature,” I explained to her. And this lead to a great conversation about animal classifications and I was able to teach her the difference between mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

A few times during the drive she told me that she was nervous, but we kept repeating our mantra, which was “sometimes things scare us, but we won’t let them stop us!”

My daughter was a rock star today. We went to the piercing place, and although she was very apprehensive, she didn’t back down. The one caveat was that I had to get a piercing first to show her that it does not hurt. (This, I now realize, was an incredibly wise move the day before I am getting an MRI.)

For her earrings, my girl picked out pink stones in the shape of a heart, and had me choose a shining pink heart as well.

“We will be twins!” My own heart was bursting as she sat, stoic and brave, as two women pierced her ears, giving her a sparkling heart in each ear.

She did it.

We celebrated with a special date and I told her I was proud of her as many times as I kissed her (which is a lot).

And then I realized something so important; my earlier anxiety was in vain;

Today, my daughter missed a day of preschool and although she loves her teachers and classmates, she will get to see them every week day until June.

But today my daughter learned something that is impossible to teach without doing.

Sometimes things scare us but we won’t let them stop us.

Today, she learned to trust her instincts; she learned that she was braver than she realized; she learned that I will always have her back; she learned that the world has many things that are scary, but that we can, if we are lucky, conquer our fears.

Today was one of those parenting milestones that I will never forget.

Sometimes things scare us but we won’t let them stop us.

And in a home that is already filled with love, there is still always room for three more hearts.

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