Today, we celebrate my daughter by a rite of passage ceremony that we've been thinking about for a long time.
We are getting her ears pierced.
As I think about rites of passage, I realize that precious few exist in our culture to celebrate girlhood--not adolescence or graduation or marriage--but just being a young girl. I wanted the ear piercing to have ceremonial, symbolic importance that she might remember for her whole life.
We will have friends and family there to witness the event.
I wrote a letter to my daughter for her to read about what her ear piercing symbolizes. I wrote that whenever she sees her earrings, she will remember God's love for her, her family's love for her, and her realization of her own worth--far more precious than any jewel. We are making a rite of passage to initiate her into the next stage of her growth. These next few years will mean so much in terms of identity formation, and I realize the role that ritual, symbol, and community will play in that secure sense of self.
I turn 35 years old this week. I wanted my daughter's ear piercing to coincide with my own rite of passage. She has five years until high school, and I have 5 years until I turn 40. What will we make, together, of these next years? When I look at my daughter's earrings, it will symbolize my own journey as a woman and a wife and a mother.
And I need friends and family to witness this.
Symbols and rituals help build a meaningful life. We can pass them on, weave together a beautiful history, and mark our lives by them. When I look at my daughter's earrings, I will remember what they mean.