Tuesday, March 04, 2008


I need some of this.

I've written here once in awhile about how well...we'll just call her offspring A...is going to be heading off to college in a few months and how I've had a few pointed moments of realizing just how much of "her own person" she really is. Most of these moments were touching, bitter-sweet and ones I want to remember.

This weekend, despite protests, bribes, lectures and tears...she did something to "express herself" that made me feel like I have failed her as a parent.

And then I blamed her father.

She got a tattoo.

Now, I'm not against tattoos totally. I've seen small ones that I admired, ones that people thought long and hard about, that expressed a philosophy or engrained a permanent (permanent being the key word here) memory of something important to them. But, what my dearest, only female offspring has chosen to do to celebrate being eighteen is get giant mutant flowers covering BOTH of her feet. BOTH. It seriously looks like vandals attacked her and dipped her feet-first into a bucket of graffiti.

It took me a few days to stop being physically ill over this and luckily it took her a few days to return from Georgia with her father where this crime took place. So, I had a lot of time to consider my reaction after the initial text picture she sent me, because my initial reaction was to forbid her from ever leaving the house or making another decision on her own.

By now, you must be wondering, considering my violent over-reaction, what exactly it was I said to her when she walked in the door and said "don't you want to see them?"

Well, I looked into her beautiful blue eyes first and found my little girl, then I looked my little girl's feet and tried to just picture the soft pink baby toes I had kissed and watched grow into my own shoes and I simply ask if they hurt.

Eventhough she knows I don't approve, I haven't expressed the extent of my horror and disappointment to her. I just don't see the point. It's done, it's something she's going to have to live with...apart from me. Something she's going to have to learn that she will be judged by.

Hell, I love her more than any other person on this earth ever will, but even I can't help but feel my confidence shaken a bit in her ability to make good choices about her future.

Then again, if this is the worst mistake she makes, I will consider myself lucky.

Until then...

I will buy her shoes.


Shawn said...

Socks will forever be stocking stuffers in your house ...

OK, first, I'm really sorry. I just can't imagine how I'd handle it. I think you did FANTASTIC, though. And, hopefully, she's kicking herself even more for doing it by how you handled it.

Second of all, to make you feel better, at least it was just her feet, which can be easily covered up with socks and shoes. The judgments will be hard to avoid, but at least she can control the setting -- unless she's in the airport, I guess.


Anonymous said...

So funny. I'm remembering Georgia's fascination with belly button and back tattoos as a 3-year-old and I was mortified until I noticed that all of her delightful, loving, mature, capable preschool teachers had those provocative little tattoos on their tailbones and I'm sure everywhere else. Body adornment is so primal, and ritualizes a passage for sure. She can have her own regret later, if and when she does.

Shelli said...

I think you've handled this extremely well, and I'll have to remember your example if something similar ever happens to me. I think I would feel as horrified as you.

Shannon said...

Shawn-the airport, lol! I hadn't even thought of that. And you have two...that will have strong minds and opinions of their own. OUch :-)

Karen- yes, but untangling my regret from hers is tricky. Necessary for both our well beings, I guess, but tricky.

Shelli- thanks for the support...you should start brainwashing yours now while there's still time. :-)

Anonymous said...

Not being a dad (at least of the human variety), I don't understand the problem. Maybe it's a female sensitivity thing? I think tattoos on women are awesome and an art form. They stem from rite of passage ceremonies and ancient tribal customs. I think your daughter just ceremonialized her passage into her own future. Good for her! Sorry for you, tho, Shaniqua.

Tia Nevitt said...

I think you handled it very well . . . but I think she'll regret it. When she's about 35, and when the tattoo doesn't look as good as it once did (they don't seem to look as good as time goes by), she'll be reluctant to wear pumps or sandals.

You have my sympathies. You may want to point out some old-looking tattoos on people you see when you're out and about and at least discourage her from getting another one.

Shannon said...

Christian--I would say that's because you're an artist and non-judgemental about other's artforms, but the problem is she's not going into an artistic field, she's going into medicine, where I fear she will be judged wrongly by her appearance, maybe talked down to, maybe men assume things about her...ya know? I just want her to have the best shot in the world she's entering.

Tia- thanks for commenting...I'm actually worried about prom shoes!

Anonymous said...

Shannon~ I understand your concern. What if the field she enters is rife with tattooed persons, which it surely will be? I'm admittedly ignorant about the region where you currently live...but here, you're considered a freak if you don't have ink splashed across your skin. Maybe I'm thinking that I'm just so used to seeing it that it's no big thang.

As for men talking down to her because she might be "a certain way:" If they're going to mistreat her, they'll probably do that regardless of her markings. She'll definitely have to be more cautious about the types of men she chooses to associate with.

Gary said...

Oh, you worry too much: the up side is that now, should life really take a turn for the worst, she's pretty much prohibited her chances of ever getting on at a higher end strip club, should the urge strike. You know, the kind of place you'd feel safer knowing she was in if she just had to become a stripper. The other joints, well... they're "lower class," but I still think the tats would make it hard for her to get a job there.

Anyhoo, on the down side, from what I hear, the porn industry is rife with tatted... ehem... lasses, and they're always looking for recruits. That probably wouldn't cross her mind, though. Of course, you didn't think the flowers would either, but, she's young. You don't have to worry about all that... just yet. I hear one of the big draws are these "college coed" kind of videos, or "college girls," or something doing with college age/teenage women. Anyway, I know you feel better about it all now that I've chimed in.

Because there is always a bright side, see? Cheers!