Monday, September 10, 2007

Am I a bad mom...

because I have absolutely no desire to have my kids' names tattooed anywhere on my body?

Trend Watch: Mommy Tattoos

And I even have a tattoo. I did succumb to the trendy little tattoo on my ankle. I must say, I did it BEFORE it became really trendy, I had a tattoo when it was still just trashy. So there.

The year was 1992, at a place called Tigger's Body Art in Deep Ellum in Dallas. And no, I was not drunk. Here is why I not only voluntarily agreed to but paid $40 for a perfect stranger to painfully inject ink into my skin. (The guy who gave me my tattoo had a tattoo of dolphins swimming across his bald scalp. I bet there's a story there too.)

My grandfather was named Chester Pitts, which is a great name for a grandpa, and we called him Chester. He died the weekend that my husband and I got engaged. I was the youngest grandchild, so the majority of my memories of him are of a crusty old man. He was quite the curmudgeon in his latter years, especially after my grandma died. He could barely see or hear, but he could talk, and it was usually to utter complaints. Not to defame the dead, but, well, that's just the way it was.

BUT, around 1930, when Chester was about 20 years old, he did something extraordinary. He jumped trains from his very small town in East Texas all the way to California. He worked for a while in Cally, somehow came upon a Harley Davidson that my brother would sell his right arm to have now, and rode that Harley all the way back to Texas so that he could elope with my grandmother. How could she resist?

I first heard this story when I was in college. Picture me looking at my aunt tell it, then looking over at Chester, crumpled at the kitchen table in his blue jumpsuit, muttering, half asleep over his coffee cup, then back to my aunt, then back to Chester - well, the end result was that it scared the heck out of me. It dawned on me that one day I too would be a crumpled complaining old shrew (those of you dying to interject a comment regarding timelines, kindly keep it to yourself) and my grandkids would never ever believe that I was young and adventurous and daring. So, at the age of 22, having just graduated from college with the geriatric age quickly approaching, I determined that I would get a tattoo, as proof that I was once young!!

About the same time my brother found a $100 bill lying in the street and took it as a sign from God that he needed a tattoo as well. My mother beamed with pride, all the dreams for her two children come to pass before her eyes. When I told her my story about how when I was in the nursing home, my grandkids would say, "See, Grandma was cool once!" She quickly replied, "All your grandkids will be saying is Mom, why does Grandma have a tattoo of a shriveled up old prune on her ankle?" Which is still think is one the of the funniest things my mom has ever said.

The tattoo is of a little Celtic cross. It is I mean was pretty. I went to high school with a guy named TJ who ended up owning tattoo parlors on Westheimer (and probably makes more money than any of us) and my friend Rosann saw him, and when he asked about me, he said, "Let me guess, she has a tattoo of a little cross on her ankle." Darn you TJ!! But I was NOT TRENDY!! Trashy, yes! Trendy, no!!

So, i guess I am being hypocritical to scoff at Mommy Tattoos. It's just that my body already bears plenty of scars from bearing four children...I don't need to add anymore. I sure would rather save my tattoo money for a tummy tuck. But, to each her own.

My babies' names are already tattooed on my heart. ;)


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