There were only two things on my daughter's todo list for the whole summer, this last summer before leaving home, posted on the white board in the kitchen for us all (2) to see. They were: to eat at the Elgin St Diner and to get matching tattoos. When she put up the list, I didn't take it seriously and was surprised by these seemingly odd things; one trivial and the other outrageous - one doable and the other impossible.
Sure, we can eat at the diner, and did within days of her putting it on the board. A check mark went up right away.
But a tattoo? Me? I don't do tattoos. They're for other people, but what did you have in mind? I mean, if we were to get actual permanent tattoos, what could we possibly do that would deserve altering our bodies for all time? I'm not into it. You go ahead and get a tattoo when you're 18 with your own money. What site was that again? Where are the pictures of the things you like? I know! How about a big MOM on your arm? How about I get your portrait on my shoulder? How about tramp stamps? Ew! And days would pass and we would laugh and laugh.
I mentioned to a few friends, people I hold in high esteem, that my daughter wanted to get matching tattoos and how funny was that. "Do it," came right away. "If my kid wanted a matching tattoo with me, I'd get it in a heartbeat," said the next one. "Sounds like you're getting a tattoo," came a from a respectable source.
What if I just met with a tattoo artist and had a conversation about what would be involved and what they'd recommend? Let's do some research and take our time - "I know exactly what I want and where we'll go. I follow him on Instagram and we have an appointment to talk to him on Tuesday." Whoa, that was fast. I'm not taking any money with me, I'm just going to talk to the guy. No promises.
I could go on about the experience of walking into a tattoo parlour for the first time in my life and how odd it all was, but suffice to say I left feeling open to the possibility.
We got our tattoos a week later. They match exactly and are just what she wanted. And I realized why she wanted them and what their purpose is right now. And funny thing, the todo list started to make sense to me.
The things on my daughter's list were things to comfort her. The diner has comfort food for the day, and the tattoo is comfort for the times to come.
It's a week until my daughter leaves for university. My only child is leaving home. We both know this is going to be big. We know it's going to be great and are excited, but we also know it's going to hurt a bit, kind of like our new tattoos.