For as far back as I can remember, my Mom has always said that tattoos are trashy. People with tattoos cant get real jobs and if I ever thought about getting one she would disown me. She wasnt being serious about disowning me, after everything I put my parents through, tattoos ended up being the least of their concern. Just to spite my Mother, on my 18th birthday, I went down to Randy Adams Tattoo Studio in Fort Worth, picked something off the wall and about an hour and $200 later I had a tribal cross tramp stamp.
I have gotten several more tattoos as the years have passed. Each one has a story, a meaning, a significance to me. I often forget about the terrible tattoo on my lower back but the story is one that sums up my attitude – tell me I cant do something and I will. But this post is not about my hard headedness.
When we first starting potty training Maxwell we used a reward system. He went potty he got a prize. The prize was a temporary tattoo. After the first few weeks Max looked like Billy Badass, he had tattoos covering his arms and his chest. We would also let Jack ordain his body but his school does not allow tattoos or body jewelry so he couldnt be as expressive as Max. Over the months we have slowed down the rewards. He is totally potty trained and we dot need to incentivize him any longer. He asks for a new tattoo every so often and I oblige. Last week he got ahold of Jacks Crayola markers and covered his legs with drawings, lines and shapes. When I asked him what he was doing , he replied” Im drawing tattoos, Mommy”. I laughed and in that moment I was transported back in time, when my Mother forbid me getting any tattoo, ever.
My Mom has never said anything about my boys and their temporary tattoos. When Max covered his legs in markers, she laughed right along with me. There is no question that in this day and age, tattoos are much more acceptable. It seems that you will find more people with tattoos than without . My ugly tramp stamp tattoo will be the incision site for my next surgery. The story about it being there just to spite my Mother will fade as it becomes a new story. A story about when I regained my life, a story about healing and a story about my cool new metal spine. For years, I have thought about having it covered up but I think after the surgery I will be proud of the scar that is left and the destruction done to it.
I have asked myself if Nick and I have conditioned our boys to want tattoos. If using them as rewards have taught Jack and Max that tattoos are a good thing. One thing is for sure, no tattoo either of them may or may not have will ever be out of rebellion. As they grow into handsome young men it will be up to them, to tattoo or not to tattoo.