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.