As a parent, there are many moments in your children’s life that are filled with pride and joy, as well as unexpected situations that can challenge your beliefs or preferences. Last week, I found myself in one of those situations, when my son called to tell me that he was getting a tattoo.
I was not at all surprised by his call, as he mentioned quite a few times over the summer that he wanted to get one. As a mom, I know that part of my job is to respect his choices even if I don’t agree with them, but I wasn’t expecting to have so many complex emotions about this particular choice. I’ve never been a fan of tattoos; in fact, I’ve always had reservations about them. I knew that striking the right balance between being supportive and expressing my honest feelings was going to be very difficult – especially after he told me what it would be.
The tattoo he wanted had a deep personal meaning to him and it was something he wanted to do not only for himself, but for me. It was going to be a symbol of love and tribute to a significant life event that happened to both of us. Hearing his reasons, I couldn’t help but feel in complete awe of the thoughtful, creative, fearless and loving person he has become.
Despite my awe and how honored I felt, I was still very hesitant and worried about the entire process. Had he done enough research to find a reputable tattoo artist to ensure that he would have a safe and positive experience? Did he ask about what the aftercare would be like? Was he sure he really wanted to do this? Did he have someone to go with him? He answered every question with a yes, except for the last one. He hadn’t given that question much thought because he assumed he would go alone because the appointment was going to be very early in the morning. While I wanted to support this show of independence, I told him that going alone (especially for his first time) was not something I could get behind! After thinking about it for a few days, he called to ask if I would go with him.
As the day approached, I experienced a mix of emotions, including anxiety and apprehension. However, I reminded myself of how important this was to my son and I wanted to be present and supportive throughout the process. When we arrived at studio we talked with the artist and discussed the design one last time. As I sat and watched the artist diligently placing the ink, my son smiled at me as I would ask (a lot) if he was okay! Each time he would respond “I’m fine mom.” At one point I told him “you are so much braver than me because I hate needles!” He just smiled at me and the twinkle in his eye reminded me of the reason he was getting the tattoo—because of how brave I was for fighting and beating cancer.
Witnessing my son getting a tattoo was a unique experience. While I might not fully embrace tattoos as an art form for myself, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride in his courage and determination in making this decision. Ultimately, I truly appreciated the opportunity to share this experience with him.
So, here I am, with this tall tattooed Man-Boy as I call him, who has shown me the beauty of self-expression and the importance of honoring one’s own story. Getting the tattoo was not just about ink on his skin; it’s a colorful milestone in our lives, and a reminder that he is growing, evolving, and becoming the person he was meant to be. And as his mom, I couldn’t be prouder of the man he is becoming – with or without Ink. 😊
Cheers to being brave,