Daily Prompt: Banned

When I saw yesterday’s Daily Prompt was “Banned”, a memory came to my mind. Before I share what I recalled, let me give some back history.

sreejit0027

When my son Sreejit was a teenager he was into heavy metal rock music; he listened to it, played it on his guitar, and sang it. He wore black clothes most of the time. He even asked me to go to a couple of heavy metal concerts with him. It took some persuasion on his part, but I did go to hear LA Guns and Alice in Chains.

I drew a limit though when he decided he wanted a tattoo. There was no way I was going to support him in doing something that would permanently alter his body.

As I think about it today, I realize it was a good example of setting structure as a parent. As defined by Jean Illsley Clarke, there are four kinds of structure; rigid structure, non-negotiable rules, negotiable rules, and abandonment (no structure). Rigid structure and abandonment are forms of unhealthy structure; non-negotiable rules and negotiable rules are healthy. Non-negotiable rules should be based on safety of the child and/or family values. For me, no tattoo was a non-negotiable rule, it was banned.

Fast forward to 2013. Sreejit was visiting Seattle for the first time in several years. (He lives in Amritapuri, India.) His driver’s license had expired since his last visit, so he asked me if I would take him to get a tattoo. I was happy to do that. When he got back into the car, he showed me his new bicep tattoo.

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The words are Sanskrit and they mean “Through renunciation alone is immortality attained.” It is the motto of Amma’s ashram, the place where he lives.

Later Sreejit said to me, “I was pretty surprised you were willing to drive me to  get a tattoo.”  “Why wouldn’t I?” I asked.  “When I was a kid you were so against it.”  “That’s true, but you aren’t a kid any more!”  “Yeah, I figured, what am I waiting for?  I’m nearly forty.”

When I reflected on this interaction, I found it interesting that disapproval or questioning his decision didn’t even occur to me. Tattoos were more common in 2013’s culture than when he was a teenager, but that aside, it was truly okay with me for him to live his own life. If his life was in danger, or I thought something he wanted to do was extremely unwise, I would say so, but as an adult living on his own, there was no place in our relationship for rules.

I love having the memory of that shared experience, and appreciate the tangible example of how our relationship has moved to one that is adult to adult….. although for part of me Sreejit will always be my baby!

 

Written for Daily Prompt: Banned

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14 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Banned

  1. Ah yes, I can relate. My youngest son got a tattoo when he was 15, unbeknownst to us, until one of his teachers at Rainier Beach made a comment to me at the PTA meeting, “Oh I like Keith’s tattoo.” Whhhat? Tattoo? Yep. It was out of my control. Thanks for your sweet intersting blogs. Love to you. Susanta

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How did he get it done? It doesn’t seem like it would have been legal for a licensed tattoo artist to give a minor one without a parent’s permission.

      Thanks for reading my blog and commenting!

      Like

  2. Somehow this piece about Sreejit brought tears to my eyes….it’s as though I had an opportunity to be his mom for a few minutes and appreciate his growth from child to adult. Of course, I am always so pleased to see either of your children as they are both amazing adults now!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I must have dreamed commenting here because it is no longer there 😉 My daughter got a tatoo when she was 16. I was living in Toronto at the time and her father never knew. I noticed she always wore a t-shirt over her bikini a few months later and saw the tatoo slightly over her left breast. Her brother scared her into getting tested for STI`s since she had gone to a Tatoo Parlour where I used to work at a community clinic and we had had reported cases. I’ve always wanted a daisy on my shoulder but I am still scared of the pain…now I am thinking more of a daisy and a dove which means Colombe (my mom`s name)…maybe on my birthday when I turn 65 in March.

    Liked by 1 person

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