The Story of My First Tattoo

I am NOT a fan of tattoos. I don’t have a problem with other people having them, they just aren’t “my thing.” I’m a conservative, church-lady, raised with very traditional values and oversight from a “very proper” grandmother. In her world, tattoos were only sported by ex-cons, bikers, and prostitutes. My mother was a little more enlightened, but she still declared them to be “tacky.” My husband has tattoos, and we laugh about them all the time because they are just a blurry mess now that he is in his 60s. He thought they were “so cool” when he had them done, and now he just thinks they are embarrassing.

Well, I just got my first tattoo last week. WHAT!?! How crazy! Here is the backstory. My son has always been very artistic and got interested in tattoos while he was in high school. I expressed my disapproval but tried to approach it rationally by pointing out the permanency, and perhaps he was too young to choose images that he might regret 20 years from now. Of course my advice fell on deaf ears–his generation is more likely to HAVE tattoos than NOT. He waited until he was 19 to get his first, on his upper arm, so it could be hidden from potential employers and disapproving grandparents. He went off to the local state university 15 miles from my house (the same university where I got my Bachelor’s Degree.) He had scholarships and Pell Grants that would have funded a 4-year degree, without a need for any Student Loans. He had 3 semesters to go for a degree in Communications (yeah, I know, stupid, ineffectual, useless degree, but at least it was a DEGREE,) and he dropped out to become a Tattoo Artist.

Imagine my surprise to learn that it actually costs more (for a parent) to get licensed as a Tattoo Artist than it takes to get a College Degree. I was so dismayed and disappointed in my son, and he KNEW it and played me. So, I have continued to support him, financially, while he works 10 hours a day, 6 days a week, in a Tattoo Shop, making, at best $10 a day as an “Apprentice.” I told him he would make more money picking chile in the fields with the illegals. He called me a racist. I told him I was just speaking the TRUTH. The Tattoo Shop Owner just bought a vacation home in Lake Tahoe. (I swear, the older your kids get, the stupider they become.)

Anyhow, he has finally completed all of his apprenticeship hours and turned in his paperwork to the State for Licensure. In an attempt to repair our relationship, I decided to sacrifice all of my principles and get a tattoo. I thought it would “heal” all of our differences and thought it was a pretty BIG DEAL that he would appreciate. He posts his completed tattoos on Instagram, but he won’t post mine because it was (in his opinion) a “silly, sorority girl” tattoo on a very uncool patron (his Mom.)

I cannot tell you how hurt I am that I have not only sacrificed all of my principles to SUPPORT his “dream”, and I receive NOTHING back from him. He is 23 years old. Dropped out of College. And I continued to support “his dream,” even though I questioned it’s feasibility. I don’t know what to do anymore. This kid is breaking my heart, every day, and I keep throwing money at him, hoping it will make him love me. It is never enough.

My husband shakes his head and tells me, “your kids love you, they just don’t respect you.”

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