When my son was 14, he asked me if he could get his ear pierced. I told him I would think about it, and I did. There wasn’t an ounce of rebellion behind the request; he simply wanted an earring because he thought it would look cool. He was responsible, had good grades, and loved his mom; I couldn’t really find a reason to say no. We talked about the consequences of an earring; that he might eventually have to remove it to get certain jobs, etc. Obviously those kinds of things seem pretty far away when you’re 14, but he understood. So I took him down to the hair salon and he got his ear pierced.
A couple of years later he decided he wanted his other ear pierced. Again, I could find no reason to say no.
He wore those earrings all through high school and college; they never once held him back.
Fast forward several years….
Last summer we were in a classy men’s store buying a suit for my son's upcoming wedding. I asked him if he was going to wear his earrings on his wedding day; he said no, they had decided he would take them out. I understood. And on that day, right before he walked me down the aisle, I realized he was still wearing his earrings. He quickly removed them, handing them to his best man.
My son got married earringless.
I kind of worried about those earrings. I didn’t want his holes to close up.
A couple weeks after the wedding, I asked my son if he had gotten his earrings back. He said he and his wife had decided he should leave them out, that he looked more employable without them.
They were right, of course, but I have to admit I was a little sad. I don't even know why.
Last weekend I walked into church and saw a young man I love a lot. He had been wearing his hair long since he graduated from high school three years ago and though it surprised me the first time I saw it, it had become a part of him. He’s getting married this summer, and I wondered if he would cut his hair before the wedding. There he was on Sunday, with very short hair. He looked great, but I was a little sad.
“Nice haircut,” I said. “It makes you look….hmmmm…..more employable!”
He grinned at me and said, “I already have a job.”