So The Ex called me shortly before the holidays, frantic, asking if I had talked to my son lately. One part of me was expecting some catastrophic news that he'd lost his scholarship, or that he wasn't coming home for Christmas, or that It-That-Must-Not-Be-Named occurred with some girl, but the more rational part of me knew that it was going to be some irrelevant bullshit. This man called urgently interrupting my work day to tell me......
My son is planning on getting a tattoo.
Now, this isn't new news to me, as my son has been begging me to get him a tattoo since he was 16. He had also "threatened" to go off to Boston and get himself a potentially questionable tat if I didn't get one for him before he left for school. However, The Ex called me as if I could somehow stop this from happening.... from 1,000 miles away.
The last thing I want to see is my son mar his lovely golden brown skin with some ugly ink. As a mother and an ink lover, that would hurt my feelings. Badly. Do I want him to go to my tattoo artist where I know he will get some quality work? Yes. Do I want him to spend a minimum of $250 to get a decent piece of artwork? Yes. Have I told him all of these things? Since he was old enough to notice my ink.
However, the reality is that he is a newly minted adult, and as we have all experienced, sometimes new adults want to exercise their blossoming adulthood by doing questionable things that totally piss their parents off. And part of the appeal of a tattoo is the rebellion aspect of it. Normally, the tattoo itself is enough to shock the conscience of the average parent. But considering I, as his mother, have about $1,800 worth of ink myself, the idea of a tattoo is incredibly blase to me. So perhaps this is just something he wants to do on his own without our assistance or intervention, just because he can. I can admit that there is something less than appealing about your mommy taking you to the tattoo parlor. Not very independent. Or manly. Or whatever sense of whatever that young men seek.
Am I worried that he will choose a hack artist who will have his lion design looking more like a monchichi
? Of course. Too many of us have been there, and are still here living with regrettable tattoos, or tattoos that we had to spend 10 times as much to cover up. It's just a part of life and the maturing process. Ultimately, HE has to live with whatever ink decisions he makes. And he's a smart boy who has grown up seeing great tattoos, so he has seen and knows what is involved in a good tattoo. While he may not end up with the best design in the world, I'm certain it will be a far cry from the atrocities I see on Tattoo Nightmares
I guess I ought not be surprised that The Ex wants to control this decision in my son's life, just as he tried to control his decision about where to go to college. But like the college experience, The Ex has never had the tattoo experience, and thus comes from a position of very little credibility on this issue. And like the college decision, I just have to accept that this decision impacts HIS life, not mine, and that ultimately I need to let it go. Who knows, he may make another good decision, find a great artist in Boston,
find a thirsty rich girl to fund the endeavor, and come home at Christmas with a piece better than mine, in which case I've wasted my worry. Or he could come home with some crap, get the "I told you so" side eye from me, and I've still wasted my worry because at that point there's nothing I can do.
My response to all of this was just to send my son a text letting him know I'd prefer for him to go to a good artist and spend a decent amount of money on a tattoo, reiterated my offer to get him a tat with my artist as a Christmas gift, but ultimately I understand he's going to do what he wants to do.
I must accept my revised job description as a mother. My heavy lifting is over. It's his life. I've got to let him live it.
So, after calling Son on his bluff, he called back and agreed to my offer of giving him money for a tattoo in lieu of, or as, a Christmas gift. I tried to schedule him an appointment with my tattoo artist, but he was all booked up and couldn't get him in before he goes back to school. So Son did his own research found an artist, and this is the final result:
I'm actually glad it worked out the way it did. He found his own artist and went to his appointment by himself and I only served in an advisory capacity when he had questions. I'm glad he did it on his own an ended up with exactly what HE wanted. He's happy, so I'm happy, and it all worked out the way it was supposed to.
Labels: parenting, tattoo, teenagers