It was the parental conversation when I realized I had lost all control. “You are not getting a tattoo!” I declared to my 18-year-old son, who just smiled back at me slyly with that I-love-you-but-you-know-you-can’t-do-anything-about-it look.
Eight more months and he will move out of the house, and while he is counting every day with anticipation, I am counting them with dread. I question every decision we made along the way. I panic at the realization that in his teenage bravado he could make such a huge mistake and I can’t stop it. Where did I go wrong? Why won’t he listen to me? Is he really going to do this or is he just messing with me? What could possibly mean so much to him that he would want to imprint it on his body forever?
But all of my protests and arguments were flattened in one breath, and I was struck to my core.
“A.M.D. G.” he answered. “That’s what I would get.”
The implications washed over me. The sole brand with which he would mark his body was the call to live for the greater glory of God. Every rant I had made now came back to haunt me. Suddenly I knew all those decisions we made along the way had a far greater impact than I had ever dreamed. And the panic of not having control melted into grateful realization that Someone else most definitely did. Inside, my Iggy voice reminded me, “All things on the face of the earth—yes, even tattoos—are created for people to praise and reverence and serve God, and from this people should use them as far as they help and discard them as much as they hinder.” My heart wanted to cry tears of joy, but I had to stay cool about it.
“Oh,” I stammered before a sudden silence filled the room. And then I said the only thing that came to my mind.
“Maybe I should get one too.”