Saturday, November 21, 2009


My son is home from college for Thanksgiving week. He arrived this morning around 8, looking happy and hale, with a tattoo in the center of his back, between his shoulder blades.

After an hour or so of chit-chatting, he whipped off his shirt, then sat with a quizzical smile on his face, waiting for us to notice. I saw something, a shadow on his back, and asked him to turn around. He did readily, his expression proud and nervous. I guessed he was proud of his art but was nervous about what we would say, because he still cares.

His tat was his birthday present to himself, which he actually had done on his dad's birthday. It is a black and white piece, a stone cross surrounded by angel wings. It is not too big, not too small, nicely centered left to right, not too high, perfectly placed. And the art is lovely, not at all cartoonish, done by a steady, professional hand.

"It's beautiful," I said, and he melted.

"Ahh, that's the word I was hoping for!" he said, and then he hugged me.

"What does it mean to you?" I asked him.

"It's a symbol of faith," he said, "of the way you raised me. A reminder that God has my back."

I thought of my dad, and my husband's mom, my uncles, all the loved ones on the other side, watching over him. I believe he thinks of them, too.

I spoiled it a little by asking him not to get any tats on his neck or forearms, nowhere visible in job interview clothes. I even noted I could be just fine with this one tat on his perfect body that I birthed. My husband, at that point, told me (nicely) to back off, cool it. My son just smiled. His mom is his mom, and that was okay with him at that moment.

I was touched, really, that it mattered to him that we liked it, even though I know, if we had given him grief, he would have shrugged and pretended he didn't care.

I'm glad he cares.


  1. wow, what a wonderful sentiment behind your son's tat - love the way he stated that it was a symbol of faith and a reminder that god has his back!

    you and your husband have/are doing a great job with your kids!!!

    hugs to all and have a wonderful thanksgiving.

  2. Good job! You're encouraging him to go out and be his own person, his own man. That's great that you could see the sentiment behind it, and have perspective - even now, my mom would not like it one bit if I got a tattoo, and I'm 43. :) She'd be polite about it, but I know she'd be seeing the tiny baby she gave birth to, and imagining that baby permanently inked with needles.

    Have a happy Thanksgiving!

    p.s. Love the header!

  3. mouse and ellen, Happy Thanksgiving to you too. I'm so glad we've met in blogworld.