Does this mean you’ve grown up?

cc licensed flickr photo shared by michale

So yesterday my son got a tattoo. Ironically, I’m the one who’s in pain. I’m sure my pain qualifies as post traumatic stress. I still can’t get over the fact that less than 24 hours ago I was staring at his bare arm and today, my eyes have to witness what I consider to be a drawing of, well, whatever it is. And it’s for life. No washing this bad boy off with soap and water. It’s a keeper.

God, I wish it was the kind he used to put on when he was a little boy. Remember the ones that came wrapped around a piece of bubblegum? I was even against him putting those on, but the little rebel would sneak them in his backpack and stick them on his arms and legs.

He knew the consequences: straight to the bath, no if, and, or but. His little sticker tattoos went down the drain with the bath water only to return the next day. But now it’s different. It’s hard to think I will never again look at his bare, human arm again. This new arm has taken a life of its own, powered by permanent black and gray ink.

I guess I should be flattered he was wise enough to include my name on his creation. Yet on some strange level I think this makes me an accessory to his crime. Aiding and abetting to deface his body. A body that is a sacred vessel, provided to him for his journey through life. A part of me thinks he’s graffitied his temple and that the man upstairs must be very angry indeed.

I don’t buy into the sales pitch that he’s enhanced his body, made it better, adorned or decorated it. I believe it was perfect the way it was before.

My life has changed with the acquisition of his tattoo.

I now have to worry about bleeding, scabbing, plasma leakage and potential skin infections. I now have to be his personal nurse; assist him to clean it, pat it dry and grease it with petroleum jelly. I now have to ensure he rests, eats plenty of protein and remind him he can’t work out or lie in the sun for the next three weeks.

I’ve gone from being the carefree mother of a child without a tattoo to being the stressed mother of a young man with a permanent ink blob on his arm.

I have to wonder, will they stop him as he attempts to clear Customs some day to verify if his tattoo is in the tattoo data base? Will he no longer be able to work for the FBI, CIA or Homeland Security? Will he buy a Harley and ride into the sunset never to be seen again? Will he die of some rare jungle fever they discover came from the ink that was used in his tat? Will he decide that one tattoo is not enough and continue to ink his body until he becomes unrecognizable?

Yes, I can’t fall asleep anymore. I can’t fall asleep cause worrying about this stuff keeps me awake.

Could I have prevented it? Should I have put my foot down? Refused to pay for it? Blackmailed him into not doing it?

It doesn’t help to fret. It’s too late. The deed has been done and now all I can do is accept it. Accept that the little boy who bought bubblegum just to get the little tattoos of bugs has grown up.

Perhaps this is the real reason I hurt. Maybe I hurt cause I realize my little boy is no more. He’s grown into a capable, strong, decisive young man. With a big blob of ink on his arm. I mean, a tattoo. I am now the mother of the boy with a tatoo. I mean, the young man with a tattoo. The kind that doesn’t wash away with soap and water.

2 thoughts on “Does this mean you’ve grown up?

  1. I am still wondering why your son chose to leave my name out of his tattoo…I am after all the one who talked you through the process of resigning yourself to the fact he was getting inked…:0)

    1. And I’m grateful to you for that! You know, it’s growing on me. Some days I can’t imagine his arm without out the new ink addition!

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