The Girl With the Brand New Tattoo Gun (Part 2)

Tat gun

I had a bad feeling there would be a part two to The Girl With the Brand New Tattoo Gun. My daughter was 15 when I wrote that post. Since then, I’ve been waiting to write the sequel. Nervously waiting.

Yes, I purchased a tattoo gun for my teen-aged daughter. Call me crazy, call me irresponsible, but only after you read about my ambivalence and reasons for doing so. Then maybe you’ll understand.

I thought her dream of becoming a world-renowned tattoo artist had fizzled away, as many great adolescent dreams do.  After all, it had been several months since I last heard the soft buzz of the tattoo gun drifting through the house.  I was always relieved to discover her canvas of choice to be the oranges and grapefruits she smuggled from the kitchen. But what’s a girl to do when she grows bored with unresponsive, unappreciative fruit? There is only one thing she can do…

I was told the word “love” on her hand was done with permanent marker. But I had my suspicions. I watched that word closely for several weeks – hmm that must have been  a very high quality permanent marker indeed.  My suspicions were confirmed when, one day, I heard my husband call out to me from the other room, a bit of panic in his voice. I rushed to see what the panic was about.

“Did you know she has a tattoo on her stomach?”

“What? No! Let me see.”

Apparently in an unguarded stretch my daughter exposed a flash of skin that looked just a little different. Upon further questioning and investigation she unveiled her art work.


For a while the discussion was one-sided:

“What were you thinking?”

“I can’t believe you did that to yourself.”

“Wow, you did that yourself? How?”

“Actually you didn’t do too a bad job. The outline is pretty straight and clean.”

“But oh, what in the world were you thinking?”

“I dunno.” Why should I have expected anything else in reply?

And that four letter word, written in rather lovely scrolling letters? Well, it wasn’t done with your average house hold Sharpie.

What could I do at that point? Is it possible to be dismayed and impressed at the same time? Was it appropriate to be impressed at all?

I have to say, given that she tattooed herself and she’s had no training, it isn’t half bad. It’s straight and well proportioned.

Example of leaf variation among various cultiv...
Example of leaf variation among various cultivars of Japanese Maple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even if it is a ridiculous outline resembling something very similar to a Japanese maple.

What is the moral of this story? I guess I just need someone to cry to. I know, it’s my own fault but really I can’t say I regret it totally. My daughter doesn’t regret it (HA what does she know, she’s only 16!) though I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t do it again. Is it the end of the world? Is she scarred for life? uh – well….

Here is my number one dilemma with my kids: I see almost every request, action, reaction as a chance to make a memory. Will it be a warm, funny one they’ll fondly reminisce about at my wake? Or will it be a bitter, haunting one they relive in hypnotherapy?

Don’t get me wrong, my kids heard “NO” plenty of times. They were disciplined, corrected  and set straight many times, but when it came to things which might help them develop creatively, I always tried to be supportive.

Today at 19 and 16, neither one of our kids seem to have interests they are passionate about. They’ve outgrown or given up on many of their past hobbies. It makes me a little sad. There were so many things I wanted to try when I was a kid; piano, pottery, dance, art – real art, not the kind you do with glue sticks and paper doilies – riding lessons, violin. It isn’t that my parents deprived me, they just didn’t see the need to pay for such things and even if they had, they weren’t able to pay for such things.  I just realized something as I type this –  I might be trying to live through my kids. Not that I ever forced them to do any of those things, I only asked they commit to what they signed up for (what they ASKED to be signed up for I might add).

Then again, maybe I’m just not paying attention to what their interests and talents are – they’re a product of the techy generation, they aren’t interested in the same type of arts or crafts I am. Who do I call when I need help with a software application? Who do I ask for help when a movie doesn’t download? Who creates impressive Simms houses? Well, I think I just had one of those “aha moments” Oprah is always going on about.

Thank you for going on this journey with me.

I’ll be sure to let you know how the glass blowing class goes next month.:) Hey  – she asked!


  1. Not sure I could have kept my cool like that ………………… I was mean with my daughter and made her wait until she was 16 and could get a tattoo without my consent – four of them went and got identical butterflies to celebrate !


    • Well, I have to take some responsibility I guess. I had a gut feeling about it when we bought it, but at the same time I wanted to be supportive.
      Butterfly tattoos are nice, better than what my daughter did to herself. Where did your daughter end up getting her tattoo? Hopefully not on her face! 🙂


  2. I love this story. You support your children in what they seek. What else can you do? They will appreciate this. And, she must be pretty awesome to tattoo a beautiful four letter word on her body. ❤


  3. That is a great blog. You do such a good job showing all your conflicting thoughts and emotions. I hope your daughter grows up to be a world famous tattoo artist. She’ll have a great story to tell about her supportive mom.


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