Saturday, August 21, 2010

maddie's earrings


I have many earrings.  My ears have been pierced since I was 13.  Many of my earrings were gifts from family and friends, and others I have accumulated over the years.

I think about the star sapphire earrings from Thailand that my dad gave me when I graduated from 8th grade into high school, and how the light when you move them makes a reflection on the stones that looks like a star.  How beautiful I thought those earrings were.  They were my first earrings that were more than just costume jewelry.  Every time I look at them I think of dad.

There are the earrings that Stevie Wonder gave me when we were dating.  Tiger eyes with a scarab beetle carved on them.  The jade earrings given to me by my kids years ago; the earrings given to me by my girlfriend Barb when we were struggling through nursing school that would be small enough to look professional when we went to work as real nurses.  The earrings I picked up on my travels, some Zuni turquoise from New Mexico, more turquoise and silver from Calistoga, California, and the bone, ivory, and beaded earrings I collected in Alaska while I worked as a pediatrics nurse in the tundra.

All my earrings have meaning.  But they aren't really mine.  They belong to Maddie.  I didn't plan it that way.  It just happened.  An epiphany. 

When she was just a few months old, I was holding Maddie in my arms when she noticed I had on earrings.  I thought she would reach up and try to yank them out like most babies when they see bright, shiny dangling earrings.  But she didn't.  She reached up and carefully touched one with her forefinger and thumb.  No yank on my ear, just a gentle touch.  I looked at her and could see the curiosity shining in her eyes.  And that was when I knew my earrings were no longer mine.  They were Maddie's.  As I whispered that in her ear, she smiled as though she understood me.  And since that moment, every time she notices my earrings, I tell her that they are hers.  And she smiles.

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