Dad Daze: Runaway Jillian knows how to make a permanent impression
I have never voted on the whole line since I am liberal on certain questions and conservative on others. An example of the latter is my take on augmentation. Aside from my daughters who have pierced ears and my eldest, Jillian, who wears a nose ring, my children are not that different from what they were when they arrived.
I was always grateful that there were no noticeable piercings, tattoos, or even hair alterations. It may have been the impact of my parents or the number of friends who felt it, but I always hoped my children wouldn’t stain their skin with ink.
It seems square since tattoos are ubiquitous, especially in Spokane, but I have my reasons for the purity of the skin. Most of my buddies regret their tattoos. No one felt more remorse than my old friend Nake, who tattooed the nickname I gave him on the fingers of his right hand.
“There was no better first impression than when I shook hands with an interviewer when I was looking for a job,” Nake said. “Having an Ozzy Osbourne tattoo works for Ozzy, but not for everyone.”
Aside from the permanence factor, the fact that tattoos are everywhere makes them less appealing to me. I have always expressed to my children the importance of not being a sheep.
Well, on Friday the week before, I received a shocking text from Jillian with a picture of her first tattoo, the Runaway Bunny from Margaret Wise Brown’s children’s classic “The Runaway Bunny,” on her right bicep, as well than the photo of the tattoo parlor she visited.
Jillian had discussed visiting a tattoo parlor for over a year. When she expressed how serious she was about the ink work, I suggested she put the bunny with wings on her shoulder. However, she changed her mind about the tattoo and I forgot about it until I received her jarring photo.
At least the tattoo is meaningful. “Runaway Bunny has always been so important to me,” Jillian said. “The message about how the bunny can always run home if he’s in trouble. That’s how I feel about you. If ever anything goes wrong in my life, it’s comforting to know that I can come running to you.
“The person who did the tattoo also likes ‘Runaway Bunny’.” Just when I was getting a little comfortable with the design covering my daughter’s many freckles, which will never see the light of day again, my son Eddie dropped an ink-laden bomb on me.
“Jillian is planning a sleeve of tattoos, and she’s going to have quotes all over her body.” I’m happy to be seated. Estimate? Want to say words beyond when kids are human cheat sheets courtesy of a pen?
“Come on, she’s got a cool job, and she’s young but old enough at 23 to make her own choices, well, that’s life, her life,” Eddie said. “I don’t understand,” I said. “It’s so permanent. This must be an April Fool’s joke.
Every day I took some time to look at Jillian’s new set, and realized she was an adult. I’ve had a long run with nothing coloring my children’s collective blank canvas, and I need to be a little more hip or at least accept it. Maybe I should shock the kids and get a tattoo – but of what?
Having a needle stuck in my arm feels about as good as the act of barbarism on my nether region, which I avoided and thus four children. Forget myself; I’m not going to get a tattoo. I am not a walking billboard. But Jillian’s work looked cooler the more I focused on it.
I think I can live with the sleeve as long as it’s artistic, but words never look good on a body. Eddie’s friend Nathan had a tattoo on his side of the lyrics to Pearl Jam’s “Older Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town”. “Hearts and thoughts fade away, fade away.”
“It’s a song my mom loves,” Nathan explained after he and Eddie graduated from high school. Maybe I can talk to him about song lyrics or any word in general. Then I kind of started digging into Jillian’s tattoo. I read “Runaway Bunny” to him. I’m part of the reason she has the bunny on her arm. I agree with his decision.
And then I was hit with a revelation. “April Fools,” Jillian said nearly a week after punching me. “How could you do such a thing?” I asked. “First off, how did you get the fake tattoo on your right arm?” “You know I’m left-handed, so I just drew it on my arm.”
But how dare you do something so, so cool, I asked. “I have to give you credit.” “First of all, I’m the prankster of the family,” Jillian said. This is not surprising since Jillian has the best sense of humor of my four children.
“And you made me so much worse,” Jillian said. “Do you remember when you said to me, ‘Football is not a sport, it’s an activity?’ I was going to school when I was in third grade, and I would quote what you said: “Football is not a real sport because there are spots on the ball. Football is the Venus de Milo of sport.
“You never told me you were kidding. Your April Fool’s jokes could happen any day, and you would never tell me you were kidding. I had to figure it out on my own, so it’s nothing compared to what you did to me.
I thought I told Jillian I was just joking about football. “No, you deserve it,” Jillian said. Maybe so, and maybe I need to be more open-minded since if my kids are okay with body art, maybe I should be too. It is their body and their life. Keep it up, Jillian!