July 12, 2011

Letting Go, whether I want to or not!! .....The Tattoo

Nevin is 21.  yeah, I know..... you probably already know that.  I'm just reminding myself, he's 21.   If I want others to treat him with respect and give him choices he deserves........  ahemmm, I guess I need to as well.

When my other kids turned 18, they made choices that no longer needed my approval and promptly proved their independence by getting a tattoo.    Nevin is 21 !! yes, I surrendered and "let" my baby have a beer on his birthday.   But this was different, it was a decision that wasn't what I would choose, this was permanent.   There had been some talk of a "sibling tattoo" ....... ok, okay..... maybe...... maybe, that would be ok with me.  They had decided on a shamrock.... three leaves..... each sibling's initial in each leaf.  Okay, ok..... he can get the shamrock.  I mean, it's a sibling love thing, right?

Sooo....... fast forward to my daughter's birthday.  She's 27.   She was planning to use birthday money for a new tatto.     So, while discussing tattoo's over her birthday dinner,  the snowball got rolling and before I knew it.... even hubby was getting a tattoo the next day (he's no help!!).

Soooo........ tattoo appointment day.....  Nevin was excited, until he learned that the plan was to get a shamrock.   "NO  SHAMROCK!!"   "I want dragon".    Said with enough conviction, that I knew there was no shamrock happening.....  so I searched and found a celtic-like, shamrock-like, three headed dragon that could have initials put into it.    When I showed Nevin the picture, he was game.   I mean his choice seemed to be shamrock or three headed dragon, right?
However, once we arrived at the tattoo parlor,  Nevin became acutely aware of his choices!! (much to this mama's chagrin).  But at least, he wasn't choosing totally inappropriate stuff...... he got a book and went to the dragon section.   And landed on a full color, very detailed, large dragon that was out of the question.  I mean, we weren't sure how he'd tolerate it, plus it would be way more expensive that the original plan.   Each family member/friend tried to "trick" him by expressing their approval of the three headed dragon.  Wasn't gonna happen.   Stalemate.

Dad had even landed on a shamrock (design name:  bad-*ss shamrock)... go figure.   But Nevin was determined NOT to get a shamrock or a 3 headed dragon.    So he vacillated between silent pouts, pleading looks, angry-talk (which typically doesn't even apply to the situation.... because he can't process fast enough, with that much adrenaline .... so instead he just gives voice to "angry talk".... often excerpts from movies, etc.).     We did hear the word "loser" come out a couple of times.  

Me on the other hand.......  just wanted to cry......  see!!  see!! everyone, see what you caused...... now we have a mess, we have hurt feelings, we have angry talking and no apparent solution.    But  as I sat and looked at my 21 year old son.......  I realized, his anguish was partly my fault...... I was trying hard to be in control... I don't want to let him grow up... .. didn't work for my other kids when they were 18....... why doesn't Nevin have the same right to prove his independence as they did.

Sooo..... I took a deep breath..... sat down compassionately beside Nevin and asked him to tell me what he liked about HIS dragon and what he didn't like about MY dragon.   Together we made a list of what HIS dragon needed to have.....  ONE head, a tail, a body, wings, horns, red eye and red wings.   After consultation with the tattoo artist, he assured Nevin he would draw him a "one of a kind" dragon.

So, there you have it....... it's hard work letting go!

My baby...... my son....... is a young man......... with a dragon tattoo!

oh, and as you can see he "tolerated" getting his tattoo just fine.

 Dad, however, wasn't fond of getting his first tattoo.

And of course, Hannah had no problem with hers, and I didn't have time to  "fuss" about what she was getting...... :)  like it would have made any difference, anyways! and it's ok, cause she's beautiful with or without a new tattoo.

And, Nevin makes friends where ever he goes!!  :)


Amy L said...

Please tell Nevin that I think his tattoo is AWESOME!

Cindy said...

Oh my word!! I can't believe he went through with it!! Such a brave man! And you're such a brave mom!

I have those same issues: would I treat Sharaya, my 24 year old the way I'm treating Beth, my 26 year old? Do I care if Sharaya (married with her own child) ate her veggies tonight? Why do I care if Beth didn't finish hers?

Always trying to find the balance, always learning! :)

Cindy said...

Laurie, how do I 'follow' you?

Laurie said...

ok, following...... not sure, I tried to add a follower gadget tonight, but it didn't work. I'll keep working on it and let you know.

And yes, it is always about finding the balance, isn't it?

Hannah said...

I love you :-)

No matter how old we are or how independent we are....we NEVER would have been who we all are today without the incredible leadership and compassion that only an amazing mother can give.

Nan said...

I LOVE this!!!! I am now a follower!!!! Come see us too! at www.dsbutterfly.blogspot.com I threatened Jess with a tatoo when we travelled to Moose Jaw (Saskatchewan) with her band. She thought I was nuts. No way she wants a tatoo. Her biggest "I'm getting older and so I do the things I want" action these days is staying up late. Oh, and she had her first drink. I had to talk her into that (we don't drink). Guess that's a blog. Now I'm going to go read all you previous posts!

Denise said...

I just found your blog while searching for information on homeschooling children with Down Syndrome. My middle daughter, who will be 14 next week, has DS. I've read your posts and laughed, cried, nodded in agreement and gasped in amazement (a tatoo? Wow!)Thanks for the blog. I'll be a regular!

shirley harris said...

this is a brave man and mom to give him the independance and you the courage to let him go my son is 37 and downs also WTG all of you siblings included