I have a teen daughter. There are certain phrases and warnings I would like to have permanently inked on her. Some of them are for others to see so she can avoid situations she is not prepared to handle, and some are for her, so maybe I won’t have to repeat the same five phrases over and over again anymore.
This goes on her forehead where every male over the age of 10 can see it clearly. I see the way they look at her. She doesn’t seem to notice much yet, but when she puts on a bikini in the summer she stops traffic at the beach–I have seen it happen. She can have the tattoo removed when she is 30; I’ll even pay for it.
2. Look Up
This is a reminder that once in awhile she needs to look away from the screen, take her headphones out of her ears and actually interact with another human being who is really there. Not Twitter, not IM, Skype or whatever. She needs to have an actual conversation that involves more than single word sentences and grunts.
3. Think First
Our darling daughter is probably the most impulsive person I have ever met. I once took both girls shopping for Christmas and had the presents wrapped at the store. She gave her little sister the gift she had picked out for her before we even got home. Of course her sister opened it on the spot and I had to figure out how to replace it. That is the kind of lack of impulse control that fills emergency rooms–have you seen “Ridiculousness”? I want her to have something that reminds her to think before she says or does things that may not be the best idea.
4. Gravity Works
Speaking of teens doing stupid things and getting hurt: you would think they have learned this one by now, but apparently not. I don’t want to wake up one day and find my daughter on Facebook or YouTube with a million hits because she decided to do something that involves wheels, gravity and a concussion. I know these videos tend to be of boys, but my darling is an adrenaline junky. She can’t wait to turn 18 so she can jump out of an airplane–I just hope she remembers to wear the parachute.
5. Yes, now
This is another reminder to her for when we ask her to do something–yes we mean now, not that mysterious teen time that seems to warp so that if they only think about doing it somehow it magically happens and they never have to actually put down the screen or stop playing the video game.
No matter how many times I tell her that misplaced headphones or a missing television remote does not constitute a national emergency, she continues to act as though it does. I’m expected to drop everything to help her find the missing object. There was a time in my life when I worked a lot from home, and I told my children, “If you’re not bleeding or on fire, it’s not an emergency.” I think that phrase is too long for a tattoo.
7. I Love You
I never want her to forget that no matter how much we argue or how unreasonable we are being (yes you do actually need to do that homework and no you can’t borrow the car until you actually have a license) we will always love her.
For some reason she won’t agree to have any of these tattoos done, something about needles and pain. Maybe I could just get her a tee-shirt instead.
Dawn Marcotte lives in the arctic area of Minnesota while raising her two girls, aged 15 and 10. She also spends her time sharing her life with an autistic teen online with anyone who will listen.