Tattoos are fine, just not on my daughter
I saw my 19 year old daughter’s status on Facebook today and several emotions bombarded me in a matter of one minute. It read, “is getting’ tattooed right now,” (smiley face). Mommy was not smiling. My youngest son, Dylan, chose that precise moment to come over and hand me a present. In his tiny outstretched hand was poop, from his messy diaper.
“I pooped mommy,” Captain Obvious said as he handed it up to me. This is my reality show on some days, a crazy mix of young adult-teen issues and toddlers learning the ropes. I have more than enough poop to deal with I think. So I cleaned my son up and then left a comment for the second oldest daughter.
“I thought you had no money for gas? I thought the next tattoo was to be my name after I am gone? Am I dead?” I wrote. “Wait, let me check. Nope I am still alive.”
My sweet daughter had already gotten a tattoo on the top of her foot about a month ago. And though she is 19 and had every right to do whatever she wants with her own body, it is large and black and well, permanent.
My mind raced as to what this one could be. Oh God, and where? At least the tattoo she had was just a cluster of stars swirling around. She said that she would later tattoo “mom” inside of it so that after I die, I can still be with her every step of the rest of her life. Yeah, she is good.
The phone rings and it is of course, her.
“What the heck? A tattoo?” I ask after I say hello.
“No, just touching up the one I have. What, you thought I got another one?” she asks innocently.
“That is what your status indicated,” I say breathing a sigh of relief. “No more tattoos, please.”
I know. I have no say in this. And I am not even certain why it bothers me so much, but it does. The worst part is realizing you still feel this way even when they are technically grown-up. It never goes away.
I remember a couple of years ago on the night before school started, this same daughter came flying down the stairs from her room to show off the bags of clothes she had bought that morning. By "flying" down the stairs I mean she skipped the last few and came crashing into the living room. I gasped, sucking in air and making that sound that you have to make when you’re certain someone just got injured.
She had bent her toes back, but was otherwise fine. My husband Adam turned to me and chuckled, "You realize you make the exact same noise when you are afraid for AJ?"
"Well, probably...they are both my babies," I replied, not realizing my reaction was the same for a teen as it was for a toddler.
It seemed both of them were constantly taking chances then that left me uncomfortable. At that time, my daughter was doing anything to see her boyfriend, breaking rules and testing boundaries and hating me for punishing her. I gasped a lot during those years.
With AJ, who was 11 months at the time, it was standing wobbly on his own near the TV stand that had pointy sharp edges…smiling at my discomfort at seeing him enjoy living life dangerously. I think they were in on it together.
Today while on the phone with my daughter, AJ and his baby brother heard what I was saying, “NO more tattoos please!” and in unison they began saying, “More tattoos!”. My daughter heard and laughed.
“See they agree with me,” she said. I am clearly outnumbered around here. Gasp, sigh…breath.