When my kids ask me who my favorite child is, I answer that they are each my favorite, for different reasons (the answer is always the same, yet it’s a friendly banter amongst them to claim they are my favorite). When I talk about my oldest son, I say that he’s my favorite because he taught me how to be a mom. He loved this answer when he was younger, and would ask me over and over to list the ways he taught me how to be a mom, from learning how to change diapers to navigating parent teacher conferences. My oldest and I have a “quiet closeness;” he’s around less and less as he grows older. But when I do see him, he’s affectionate in a quiet way – a tap on the head as he walks by, a loose hug in passing. This is different from my younger two, who still need more attention from me and are, in general, louder and around me more. This past summer I barely saw my oldest, as he and his friends sucked up every second of summer together before heading off to colleges across the country.
So when my oldest casually asked recently if I wanted to get a tattoo with him, I was pleasantly surprised and happy that he’d want to do something so permanent, and for his first time, with his mom. I said yes, which I think surprised him! We agreed we didn’t want to do something (in our opinion) cheesy, like me getting a mama bird dropping a worm into a baby bird’s mouth on his arm. After some discussion we agreed on a symbol that is meaningful to our heritage and his birth order (first son.)
We got our tattoos, and it wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. And it’s true what they say – now I want another one! The important thing though, is that as our kids get older, we find different ways to stay close and share meaningful experiences. I miss the carefree days of pushing him in the swing, but I’m grateful that we remain close and find other ways to strengthen our “quiet closeness.” While a tattoo isn’t for everyone, we need to be creative and find our own connections as our kids enter various stages in their lives.
(the image featured here isn’t my tattoo, but isn’t it pretty?!)