I grew up in a pretty traditional middleclass family of four. A dog, dinner at 6, bills, you know, school carpool. The Martin family was what you might call conventional, but not in a completely negative way. We could express our point of view… up to a point. My parents allowed us to have pierced ears (lobes only), never a pieced eyebrow or (God-forbid) a pierced nose! And no one in my family EVER had a tattoo, not even a dolphin on the ankle.
Now I have a family of my own. We’re not as conventional as the Martins. My husband and I definitely allow more freedom of expression at our house. Maggie, who’s three years old, usually chooses her own outfits and frequently looks (as my father so aptly puts it) “like a flag looking for a nation.” But I thought I had a few years before things like tattoos and piercings came up. Uh, apparently, not the case…
A few nights ago, my husband and I were sitting with Maggie having dinner at a restaurant. A guy covered in brightly colored tattoos sat at the table next to us. Maggie watched him awhile utterly fascinated. Finally she leaned over to him and said: “I like your pretty pictures.” I saw the guy’s heart just melt.
And just yesterday while in the car, Maggie noticed a motorcycle in the lane next to us. She earnestly asked me: “Mom, if I practice really hard, can I drive a motorcycle someday?” Really?!
In my hysterical mind, teenagedom’s not even on the horizon, and Maggie’s already telling me that she’s going to run away on a Harley with a guy sporting plenty of ink.
In my rational mind, she thinks it’s really cool to have pictures drawn on your skin (that don’t come off when you take a bath!) and to go really fast with the wind whipping in your hair. Hey, come to think of it, I like those things too. Maybe they aren’t so scary or even so unconventional. But… motorcycles are still a bad idea.
© Kellie Martin, 2010