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Monday, April 28, 2008

That's Gonna Leave a Mark - Permanently

Last night Madison and I had a conversation about tattoos. I remember being pregnant with her and looking at the unicorn I have on my ankle and wondering how I was going to handle it when she asked about things such as my tattoos... I've found you never really know how to handle it until you're faced with those questions!

When I was a young lady (believe it or not, I was a young lady at one point, LOL), a tattoo was just something never considered - neither of my parents had them, so I never really cared, either. As I grew up in a pretty strict military household, I was nervous about coming home with a second hole in my ears let alone a tattoo! As I got older, my parents got liberal in little ways - and I think they did that just to keep their sanity raising me, because of course I was always pushing boundaries and rebelling in pretty much any way possible. It would be an understatement to say I was a challenge as a child.

When I was 23 I got the unicorn on my right ankle, and although I'd planned it for weeks, I didn't tell my parents to avoid any drama. When I came home and showed them - to my absolute surprise, they actually liked it. No lecture, no scolding - just a "Well, it's your body and you have to live with that forever" attitude that was unexpected but refreshing. I was, after all, 23 - but no matter how old you get you know what is expected of you and which buttons NOT to push, right?

So last night Madison was trying to rub the unicorn off as if it were just pen. I explained that it's permanent and that it's inside my skin so it won't ever come off - and all she really said was "Why?" I couldn't have said "Because two of my best girlfriends and I just thought it would be cool so we just did it", now could I? Maybe when she's 13, but not at not-yet-4. I would probably be amazed at what she can comprehend, but I wanted a better answer. So I gave a little story about unicorns and how much I loved them when I was a little girl to distract her, and she moved on to something else. Phew.

I wonder, when she comes home and wants the piercing or the tattoo, what will I do? Right now I can say that until she's 18, it's my job to help make those decisions so she doesn't do something I know she'll regret. After that? It's her business, but I hope she'll still feel ok to talk about it.


Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Oh Girlfriend....I just re-lived my almost exact moment with Keven and my dolphin on the ankle tattoo!!!! I wonder what the in thing will be when Madison is a teen. Keven has plugs....big ones. I could stick my pinky through his earlobe.

Sheena said...

Carlee calls ours cartoons lol ours are somewhat unavoidable... Carlee seems indifferent, she was even there when Tony got one in Florida. It was a family affair haha. But I will be making sure she waits until she's 18 as well. I saw some horrible tattoos people got when we were younger, cheap and unprofessional, Carlee will definitely be getting a lecture about not paying for that. :) Then again, if she ends up not even wanting one, then great!

Nik said...

Good thing your daughter has ADD huh? Nah, seriously, way to handle the conversation. My parents never had any conversations with me about piercings or tattoos. I just knew that if/when I got a tattoo that it would have to be something that would always having meaning to me. I'm sure she'll do the right thing.

Angi said...

I got my first when I was still 18, and I recall calling and telling my mom I was getting a tattoo. She didn't beleive me until I came home with it. Not long after she watched me, my sister and a friend (as well as my ex hubby) get tats, she was also the one who picked out my 3rd - yet she never had one. She always told me that as long as no-one's name (except maybe a child or parent) be inked. Surprisingly she even laughed with me when I got my 4th, as it was a drunken thing that an ex and me did one night after too many Buds, we got frogs. It started out wanted Snoopy & Woodstock or Calvin & Hobbes but the place didn't have either. It was my idea for the frog, one of those things sitting there and I said well how about this then. Alcohol and ink don't mix - but that was the era of Bud advertising with the frogs. I've often wondered how I would explain to Natalie 5 tats and the endless tongue, eyebrow and belly piercings I had/have - or the fact that I still want more. but it doesn't really phase her, I guess since Ruben has none. Even now at 34 I told Ruben when I survive this 2nd round of cancer I want something to show for it - and I want either another tat or my nose pierced. I may be a surburban mom & manager's wife, but I'm still a wild child through and through. In fact after I lose the hair from chemo and it comes back, don't be surprised if it's pink or something =) I had purple highlights when I quit my job to be a SAHM!