|Stealing Bethany's drink/getting a picture with it while she |
was in the ladies room because it was funny/delicious.
I have some news.
No, not that. Not that other thing, either. And it doesn't even involve my gloriously fallin' down house.
I have recently removed my tragus piercing.
Now, before you get all creeped out and feel the need to excessively Google, I shall explain; the tragus is that bizarre flap of skin on your ear right before the ear canal. And I had it pierced when I was twenty years old.
It was a random piercing, in an even more random locale. I'm not even entirely sure why I wanted to have it done; I wasn't particularly [at all] punk. I wasn't at risk of being described as "edgy." And I had a crippling fear of needles. But I did have the need for something new and rather different, a car to take me all over Amherst and surrounding towns, and a modmate who encouraged me to either get the piercing done or stop yammering about it like Rain Man.
And it hurt. Good God did it hurt. I had a feeling that it would hurt as soon as I spied the deadly hook that was supposed to filet a chunk of my ear. However, I had finally made up my mind. I had already paid the cash. And the guy wielding the hook was sporting a red bandanna, making him look like a ridiculously hot pirate.
Decisions have been made on less.
However inconsequential the beginnings of this relationship were (the ring n' me, I mean- the pirate never even gave me a second glance, probably because I screamed directly into his face that he had mutilated me), I soon became quite attached (ha ha) to this ring with its ball bearing. I took it out on very rare occasions; surgery and my wedding day being two of the most prominent. But immediately afterwards, back in the ring would go. I wore it for so long that I began to forget that I was wearing it. I wore it as a nanny. An actress. A writer. A new Mom. Hangin' out with the inlaws. Just me...with a random piercing.
But the other morning, nearly twelve years later, I looked at P.J. and announced "I think I'm gonna take out the tragus ring." He blinked. Thought for a second. Tentatively spoke.
"If that's what you want. Should we have some sort of ceremony?"
I pulled out the ball bearing. Slid out the ring. Placed it on the counter.
And you know what? It was totally fine. Because it was no longer something that I needed. It was the final vestige of the arbitrariness of my twenties (even- ahem- when I was 31 years of age).
The other night, P.J. threw me a surprise birthday party. (Stick with me, here.)
What had started out as a surprise was revealed a few days early due to extenuating circumstances with an extended family member's memorial in Cincinnati. (Keep sticking with me.)
I had suggested that we drive down to Cincinnati with the girls, cancel the dinner for two we had planned at Wildfire for Saturday evening, and reschedule sometime later in the month. P.J. did not like this plan. Loudly. When pushed, he irrationally yelled that PEOPLE HAD BEEN PLANNING TO SHOW UP TO MY SURPRISE DINNER FOR MONTHS AND OH MY GOD WHY DID I JUST TELL YOU THAT?!
I was touched, concerned for the very real possibility of more yelling, and unsure how to proceed with my husband's obviously fragile state of being. So I put on my Agreeable Hat.
Long story extremely short, we drove back home to Chicago on Saturday, arriving home with a couple of hours of preparation time to spare. (Read: we got to shower.) A [wonderfully wonderful] co-worker of P.J.'s stepped up to the plate and babysat for our sleeping children, as that day we had found ourselves in an unexpected babysitting bind. (There's a special place in heaven for friends who save the day like that.) We arrived at my "surprise" party to find some exceptionally good friends waiting for us. The kind of friends that I always want to see, but who frequently have shows, need sitters, or just possess completely opposite schedules from P.J. and me.
And we enjoyed the heck out of our time at that Golden Age supper club. Martinis were made out of desserts. I ate things off of gigantic spoons (some say they were for "serving," but the jury's still out). People let me try things off of their plates and sip things out of their glasses- not just because it was my birthday, but because I have really nice friends. (Good Lord, this paragraph makes it sound like I was raised in a barn, table manners-wise.) The point is, I had lovely conversations and felt truly lucky to be surrounded by so many great people.
And I kept glancing over at my husband, this guy who felt that I needed to have a special birthday celebration. (After all, nothing says "surprise party" like the big 3-2. It's not a milestone birthday! Surprise!) I loved him a crazy amount at that moment, this guy who wanted to help me pretend that the last two months of household insanity hadn't mentally snapped us in half.
I so totally don't need a tragus ring to define me. P.J. unwittingly let me know that I'm defined (and am continuing to be defined) by our life together. Our daughters. My writing- for which he clears paths and spaces and wrangles some quietude. Our impossibly constructed house. The family members both near and far-flung. The friends who consistently show up and remind me, Yes, you're generally awful at "getting together" and "keeping in touch," but we love your face and general looseness with the English language.
So I'm ready to turn 32 in two days. Because, as saccharine as it sounds, each year just keeps getting nicer. P.J. has shown very few signs of being done with me. Good things are promising to happen, writing-wise.
And, finally, because it means that I will never- ever- have to be twenty years of age again.
I'll toast to that.