Tuesday, January 08, 2008

What's Been Neddling Me



Last Saturday was my son’s 18th birthday. And at 12:01 a.m., he gave himself a gift…one of which that I have to admit, I wasn’t all too thrilled about. Now, you have to know, he’s my baby . . . all 200 pound of his six feet two inches, even down to his size-13 men’s shoe. So yeah, I know he’s not really a baby. He’s eighteen, a big boy.


A big boy when it comes to size, but not so big when it comes to needles. Seriously, I was holding his hand just a few months ago when he got a tetanus shot. “Is this going to hurt?” he asked me. “I hate shots, mama,” he said and blinked his scared, big brown eyes at me. It didn’t matter that he was big, my maternal instinct took hold and I squeezed his hand and wished I could take the shot for him. Yep, he hates needles. Which is why, I was just a bit surprised that he got a tattoo.


Now, he told me he wanted one. He’s been telling me he wanted one for years and I simple rolled my eyes and said, “Not until you’re eighteen, buster.”


Who knew eighteen would come around so soon? Who knew I wouldn’t be any more prepared to see my baby get a piece of art permanently placed on his body? Who knew that at eighteen, he’d still think it was a good idea? Not me. If I had, I would have said, “Not until your sixty, buster!”


And when he told me he was going to get one a few days before his birthday, I just laughed. I reminded him that getting a tattoo could be very painful, (yeah, I might have exaggerated a bit) that sharp needles were involved, and that it could kill him…hepatitis C, and all, and then I blew the whole idea off. Hey…mama wasn’t there to hold his hand…no way would he go through with it, right?


Wrong.


Now, it’s not that I’m anti-tattoo, but this is my baby. I can close my eyes and still see him running naked as a jay bird across the bedroom, laughing as I chased him down to put a diaper on him I can see every inch of his little, squirming body, every bit of sweet-smelling baby-powdered skin, unmarked, un-inked, and oh so perfect.


Just this morning, he was walking from the shower without a shirt. I couldn’t help but stare at his forearm with an eagle, part of a flag, and the word “Freedom” written underneath. Oh, he’d already shown it to me, and it’s not hideous or anything, and a T-shirt will cover it up, but seeing it unexpectedly for the first time took me by surprise.


I realize that part of my dislike of the piece of body art is that I had to come face to face with the realization that my baby was really on the threshold of becoming a man. (Not man enough to get a tetanus shot, mind you, but man enough to get a tattoo.) And right then, he even looked like a man, tall, strong, his tattoo accentuating his bicep muscles, and a certain “I’m eighteen” gleam in his eyes.


As I walked away a bit disgruntled, I remembered what my mother told me when I first asked to get my ears pierced. “If God wanted you to wear pierced earrings you would have been born with holes in your ears.”


My answer back was, “Mom, that argument doesn’t hold water, because I could say that if God wanted me to wear clothes, I wouldn’t have been born naked.”


Mom was so over protective, so ol’ fashioned. But of course, this whole tattoo thing is different. Completely, different. Right?


Okay…dang it, maybe it’s not so different. But don’t you think if that he had to get a tattoo, he could have at least had the words, “I love my mama,” put on his arm?


So…here’s my question to you. How do you guys feel about tattoos? Any of my readers have tattoos? Do you like them on your men? Any parenting advice for a mama who’s having a hard time letting go of her baby?


Crime Scene Christie

53 comments:

Teri Thackston said...

Tatoos never really bothered me, but seeing one on either of my babies might trip me up, too. And that whole turning 18 thing...I feel your pain, sistah!

P.J.Mellor said...

Four of my five children have at least one tatto. I can tell you, it doesn't get easier. But when it was my baby--and she was sneaky, having it doen while she was still in high school!--it was far worse. What I always told my children I had against tatoos was they were messing with my handiwork. I created them(okay, maybe their dad had a small part)fretting all nine months(sometimes ten, but that's another story)about their condition. I checked them top to bottom after their birth, pleased with the expanse of perfect baby skin. Then they went and screwed with it by getting a tatoo!

Tambra said...

Hi Christie,
Both of my son's have tattoos and more than one. One is 23 the other 24. The oldest onegot his while in the Navy.
My youngest had his done about age 18, too.
My personal opinion is I don't like them for ME. And I didn't like it when they did had them done. Now, what bothers me is my youngest son getting MORE.
But I wonder since our culture doesn't have much in the way of a ritual for boy to manhood, maybe the tats are being used that way by some of our kids.

Hugs and hang in there.
Tambra

Christie Craig said...

Teri,

Thanks! I do hate seeing him grow up. And I'm the same way, on a man I think they are great...but on my baby???? What was he thinking?

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

P.J.

I love the way you put that. I created him and he's messing up my handiwork. Thanks for posting girl!

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Tambra,

I think you're right, tattoos are big right now. And like I said, I'm not against tattoos, just against my son having one.

Crime Scene Christie

Thanks for posting girl!

Allison Brennan said...

My DAUGHTER wants a tattoo. I said not until she's 18. She's going to be 14 on Saturday. I'm not looking forward to it, no matter how tasteful it is, but I think I can handle it because she does have good taste (she wants a small Celtic cross on her shoulder. I won't be happy, but I can live with it. It's the belly button ring I'm having panic attacks about.

Ruth said...

Hi, Tatoos- thankfully none of my children have them, but there was an almost. However, I have a daughter in law that has a very discreet flower. Family members aside, I have seen several young and old women with tatoos, some cover their bodies and I wonder why? Then I remember a young girl who told me it was an expression of art and her body was the canvass. I said okay, but I still wonder- as the body ages, and items drop (especially on women) what those works of art will look like. Will the rose become really looong stemmed? How will those little works of art really look elongated? The mind boggles at the possibilites. Will the eagle still soar, or will he look like he is taking a dive?
Ruth

Faye Hughes said...

Ah...tattooes. I've never seen the appeal myself but I know a lot of people feel differently and good for them. For me, it's their permanence that scares me a little. (Okay, the needles, too.) I mean, I don't keep the same hairstyle for more than a year or so, I don't like the same jewelry or clothes I did 10, 20 years ago, either. So who's to say that I'd like the same tattoo five or ten years in the future? It's not like I can shove the tattoos into the back of the closet or anything. LOL.

Faye

ps: Love the picture of your son!

Gemma Halliday said...

I'm going to confess what a chicken I am here. I've wanted a tattoo since I was fourteen... but have yet to get one. And I'm not even scared of needles! It's the idea that this will be on me FOREVER, so I better be darn sure I like the design first. Yeah, I’m a total commitment phobe. No wonder I’m still single…

Allison - the celtic cross sounds pretty! Not that it wouldn't still freak me out, but at least it's not a devil skull!

~Gemma

JoAnn said...

I live in what's supposed to be the
"conservative" South, but I've come to the conclusion that just about everyone -- male and female -- over the age of 18 has at least one tattoo these days.

My son was older than yours, Christie, when he got his first tattoo, after a divorce. Thinking Hell's Angels, I wasn't pleased, but he was, after all, an adult and a father. (Heck, I jumped out of a plane after my divorce, so I guess a tattoo is more low-key than that!) He now has two more, each signifying some important event in his life. Which, I suppose, is a kind of cool way of carrying those memories around with him.

One thing that I did learn in researching my High Risk books -- the Marines have now banned any tattoos that show above a T-shirt collar or below a short sleeve and recruiters are actually getting out rulers and checking and a LOT of potential recruits are being rejected. Some are going so far as to go out and get their tattoos lasered off -- which is both painful and expensive -- so they can enlist.

June said...

Hi Christi,
My son got a tattoo without my knowledge or permission when he was 16. The fact that he was 6'4" and built like a truck could have convinced the tattoo artist that he was older. I remember the roiling in my stomach when I was proudly shown the dragon tattoo decorating his left calf from knee to ankle. This was the same dragon he designed and painted on his skateboard.
But I was cool. What's done is done right? I do remember thinking that he'd damaged the perfect skin I'd given him and that I was left with stretch marks. How unfair is that?
The fact that I did not go completely ballistic had its repercussions. My daughter, his older sister, immediately ran out and got a "tasteful" tattoo of her birthsign at the nape of her neck, folllowed by a lovely fairy on the back of her shoulder, a design from dimple to dimple on her behind, a bracelet, an anklet and those are just the ones I know about.
You may ask if I have personally spawned a biker gang and the answer is no. My daughter is a happily married stay at home mom and my son, also happily married, is employed in IT for a big communications company in NY. My daughter and son are both productive members of society. . .Make that highly decorated productive members of society.
~June

Christie Craig said...

Hi Allison!

Take my advice, start telling her, "Not until you're sixty." You are going to blink and her eighteenth birthday will be here. And I agree 100%, a nice tattoo is one thing...a belly ring would have me cringing a bit.

Thanks for posting!!

Christie Craig said...

Ruth,

LOL. I agree, our bodies change, and who knows which way the eagle will soar, or how long the stem will go!!

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Faye,

That's so true. We always think we know who we are and that things will never change and then we do. And let's not talk about tossing things in the back of the closet. Yikes, I still need to clean mine out. Hey...there is probably everything in there except a tattoo.

Thanks for stopping by.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Gemma,

LOL. However, I have to agree, I have to love something to commit. I took six months to pick out a picture to hang over my sofa...and I know I can change that. A tattoo is forever and I'd be scared I'd grow to hate it.

Hey...hang in there. And keep us updated on your search for Mr. Right. Hmm...will he have a tattoo?

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Joann,

Yes, a lot of people I know have tattoos. I've never longed for one myself, but I've seen some that look nice.

And I guess our boys grow up and we can't tell them what to do, huh? I have to admit I agree that a tattoo would be one way to remember an important event.

And . . . jumping out of a plane? Well, girl, you've got more guts than I do.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

June,

LOL. Highly decorated members of society is right. I think we have to accept what our children do, even if it's something we wish they hadn't done.

Love is unconditional. Well, for the most part!

Crime Scene Christie

MsHellion said...

Love tattoos, and love them on men. It's my thing. I don't know why. Gary Allen (the country music guy) has tattoos...and he looks plain hot.

I suppose it depends on the guy and the tattoo. I'm on wild about guys who tattoo REBEL flags on themselves, even if I am a proud Southerner. For some reason, it just seems a tag too rednecky for me. (Just a personal preference. I don't have a problem with the big old truck.)

I want a tattoo. Small though. Pirate flag--probably on my bum--since it would never see the light of the sun and thereby last forever. *LOL*

My parents said the same thing about earrings! I never thought about the born naked thing. That would have been good. I got them anyway, but I was 19 and in college at the time. Then I wore huge hoop earrings and drove them crazy.

Christie Craig said...

Mshellion,

I've seen some guys with tattoos and let's say they were nice to look at. Not that it was all the tattoo, mind you.

Hey...if you get a tattoo on your tush, you might not even have to look at it yourself.

And I love the fact that you wore big hoop earrings. I got mine ears pierced after I got married. Oddly enough, my mom now has her ears pierced twice in each ear. What's up with that?

Crime Scene Christie

Keri Ford said...

I have nothing against Tatoos and would love to have a tiny little butterfly on my backside or something...but I have no plans to expose my hinny off to some stranger holding a needle gun.

And, I worked with the public for a lot of years and I've seen too many fadded and stretched out tatoos than I would have liked.

Jenyfer Matthews said...

I don't even want my boy to grow whiskers on his lovely smooth cheeks!! (yes, I know, unrealistic of me!)

I'm with Gemma - I kind of like the idea of a tattoo but aside from the needle thing (yikes!) can't think og anything I would want on my forever.

Hubby was just telling me the other day how big a business tattoo removal has become...

Kate Douglas said...

LOL...I love tattoos and wanted one before they were popular, but never "got around to it." Our daughter has one on her shoulder done by a street artist in Germany, and the entire story about how it happened is worth the fact my baby girl has a tat. Her husband had one done eight years ago while on their honeymoon in Rarotonga that incorporates Sarah's design, and it's beautiful. Son doesn't have one but his wife has a beautiful floral design across her lower back, which she said hurt so bad she almost ended up with half a tattoo! I think they're a marvelous form of self-expression when done "tastefully." Tats that become the first and only thing you see when you talk to a person are a bit overmuch. I once saw a gorgeous multi-hued dragon on the back and shoulder of an elderly white-haired woman. It was so attractive I commented on it while we stood in line at the bookstore. She said it was her 80th birthday present to herself. Maybe when I'm 80...

Tori Lennox said...

I don't ever plan to get one. I'm not wild about them, but I can tolerate the small, subtle ones. The ones that make me cringe are the ones that cover huge amounts of skin.

Lucy said...

I agree with the person that said they'd never understood the appeal of a tattoo. But I guess you got to let them "express" themselves. In the big picture you have to consider the choices they make and body art is pretty tame, considering what other "options" are available to them.

Oh, and my niece did a very similar thing to my sister. On her eighteenth birthday she went out and got her tongue pierced. Didn't say anything beforehand and came home with it.

Hang in there girl. :-)

Wendy Roberts said...

I don't care for tats and if one of my 4 kids ever gets one it'll prolly just about kill me LOL!

Maureen said...

My daughter did this some months ago and we simply don't talk about it. She knew I didn't want her to do it and always said she would when she turned eighteen. Well, she didn't do it for months and I thought she forgot. No such luck. I remind myself that she works, goes to school full-time, has a great boyfriend and wonderful friends so I am thankful for it all.

Christie Craig said...

Keri,

You know, I'd think it would be like getting a shot. But you are right, you'd be in that position for however long it took to do the tattoo. Ouch!

And as for seeing too many faded and stretched out tattoos, well...that brings some. . . not so pretty images to my mind. (smile)

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Jenyfer,

I saw a piece on the news not too long ago about tattoo removal. I think it was like 25% of the people who get them, will get them removed.

I guess the concerns about making that commitment aren't so farfetched.

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Kate,

A tattoo at eighty? WOW! Well that takes the saying..."When I get old I'll wear purple," a bit further, doesn't it? But hey...if she wanted it, more power to her!

And I agree, tattoos are fine, but they shouldn't be overpowering. I guess it's sort of like makeup. We wear it to look better, but when you see someone so overly done that all you see when you look at the person is the bright purple or black eye makeup, then it's no longer a good thing.

Thanks for sharing!

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Tori,

I don't quite get why someone have most of their bodies tattooed. You have to know they get treated differently. But then again, maybe that is their goal...to really stand out as a individualist. I'm not going to judge them. I guess they just dance to a different drummer.

I'm seriously hoping this is my son's last one.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Great point Lucy.

And I can tell you, my son really is good boy. I've never had the serious type of problems with him that so many parents have with their teens. I really count my blessings.

So a tattoo isn't a sign that one is a bad seed. I think his choice to get it was more about his turning eighteen and wanting to prove he was a man. Hmm...didn't we all think we were grown up at eighteen?

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Oh...and Lucy...the whole tongue piercing thing...Yikes. Your poor sister! That said, I know several of my daughter's friends who got the tongue pierced and they were great kids. Still...that had to hurt!!

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Wendy,

I know exactly how you would feel. I look at that picture of my son and my heart just sighs.

I know the tattoo dosn't change a thing, but . . . .

Thanks for posting!

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Maureen,

It's just tough being a mom. Hmm...I guess we gave our own parents a little bit of hell, too.

Thanks for stopping by.

Crime Scene Christie

Estella said...

I like tattoos. I have 2 and 3 of my 4 kids have at least 1.

Christie Craig said...

Estella,

Good for you girl!!

I have to say, I admire the gutsiness of someone who has one.

So do you still love them? Maybe you can talk Gemma into getting one.

Crime Scene Christie

Dru said...

I'm not afraid of needles but I wouldn't get a tattoo if you paid me. I don't like when people put tattoos all over their body so you see that more than skin.

JOYE said...

Most of the men I know who got tattoos in the service now wished they didn't have them
I'm just wondering-how do tattoos look on 60 or 70 year olds?

Christie Craig said...

Dru,

I had an uncle who one and his still looked okay when he was in his sixties. And I've seen a few on people that I actually considered pretty. But I'm with everyone who is afraid of commiting to something for a lifetime.

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Joyce,

I wonder if my son will regret his one day? I hope not. But if he does, I hope he remembers that his mama didn't think it was his best idea.

Crime Scene Christie

Wendy said...

I wonder if your son is reading this, LOL.

Now, I don't mind tattoes as long as they're tasteful, I don't think I would ever get one although I'm far from being afraid of needles like him. And his tattoo sounds nice, and his bicep muscle too..erm sorry, couldn't help myself. *g*

Gemma Halliday said...

Hey...hang in there. And keep us updated on your search for Mr. Right. Hmm...will he have a tattoo?

I hope so! Honestly, I love a tattoo or two on a guy. Nice ones. You know, that say how much they love their mother. ;)

~Gemma

catslady said...

I don't personally care for them. I just figure what you like as a young person you just may detest as you get older. I have two girls that have been saying for years they were going to get them. I gave the "not til your out of my house" and one is now on her own and hasn't got it yet but still talks about it. When she graduated high school she did the trip with her girl friends to the beach. Calls me up and says she got a tatoo. I had a real fit. Was telling my mom and relatives what she did. Then she comes home and I find out it was one of those temporary tatoos! I was greatly relieved but found out my younger daughter knew it all along lol. Anyway I still keep hoping they won't but I know I have no control anymore. I do think it's one of the things kids do to kind of rebel and prove they are in control of themselves.

Christie Craig said...

Wendy,

Before I posted the blog, I had my son read it. He actually loves being talked about.

And yes, he's a good looking kid...uh young man. Hey...he has good genes!

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Gemma,

See, my son should have something about his mama tattooed on his arm.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Catslady,

I agree, I think for my son the tattoo was sort of his right of passage for him.

They love to push our buttons, don't they? But I guess our parents say the same about us.

Crime Scene Christie

Ms Terry in Gadsden said...

tattoos, yeah its funny how i have never wanted one but do like how they look on other people. We were raise to think like your mom said if God didnt give it to you you dont need it. Funny how those same people get perms in their hair and wear finger nail polish and make up. I mean i know a tattoo is more of a forever thing than curling your hair but that answer about if God had wanted you to, always didnt get my mom very far with me.
In October the local tattoo parlor was donating money to the Breast Cancer Society if anyone got a tattoo in Oct. a lady who is a breast cancer survivor chose to go and get a pink ribbon with a cross tattooed on her index finger. funny part of it all is her husband is a minister. She was told buy someone on a forum who didnt know who they were talking to if got wanted you to have a tattoo you would have been born with one.

Life has changed alot , im seeing people of all walks of life and ages getting tattoos.

p.s. tell the man i said Happy Birthday.

Kathy Bacus said...

I know just how you feel about your baby growing up, Christy. Sniff. Sniff.

My triplets turned 18 January 2nd and the topic of 'tats' came up. I knew it was no use to go the 'if God had wanted' route with so many effective rebuttals available.

The idea of a small, tasteful tattoo lost some of its alarm factor when my daughter walked into the house a few days ago proudly displaying her brand new lip piercing.

I was speechless...until she pulled the fake ornament off and said with a raised eyebrow, "Guess a tattoo doesn't seem so bad now."

Oh, buddy!

~Bullet Hole Bacus~

Christie Craig said...

Terri,

Yep. People of all walks of life are getting a tattoo these days. Love your story, girl, about the minister's wife!

Thanks for dropping by.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Kathy,

A lip piercing!? Yep! That tattoo is looking better all the time. LOL.

Thanks for stopping by.

Crime Scene Christie

Stacy S said...

I do like tattoos. Just a few, not covering your whole body. I have 2 myself. I don't know about my son getting one though!

Christie Craig said...

Stacy...

Congrats on those tattoos, girl. And isn't it funny, how things change when it comes to our babies.

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie