My oldest son came from College to visit us this weekend. Tonight he looked up from his computer in my direction and said, “ I’m sorry to tell you that I think your youngest son has gotten a tattoo.” He then slowly turned the computer screen so I could decipher from across the room a tattoo running down my baby boy’s upper arm from his shoulder practically to his to elbow. “It looks like a tribal something”. My youngest boy is thousands of miles away in Costa Rica in a Gap Year between high school and college.
There has been a lot of talk about tattoos in my family going on 3 years now. It upsets me every time the subject comes up. There were drawings commissioned of my husband’s family crest and talk of my 2 step children, my husband, and our 2 boys getting this tattoo. I liked the gesture of bonding in the blended family but the thought of tattoos on my babies’ skin just upsets me. Even if it were to say,"Mom".
I know, He’s 18 now. He can do what he wants. I don’t have to like it but my powers to influence have waned. I know, I know. Right after the tattoo news was delivered to me my son and my husband went off to the movies. I welcomed this because I really needed to meditate. I needed to calm myself down, somehow.
As I began feeling the breath, my upset was raging inside. A tight grasping in my gut. I could notice the sensation of the in breath in my nostrils and a rising in my chest but I lost the breath on the way out. My mind was a tape recorder running fragments of Sharon Salzberg. “ There’s the Breath. Greet it like a friend in the street. There’s the Breath”. I felt the breath for a moment and then it vanished in the street. “Find a person that you would wish loving kindness towards. Send them what you would wish for yourself”. As I began to repeat these wishes to my son in Costa Rica, “May you be Safe. May you be Happy, May you be Healthy, May you live with Ease” A remarkable shift happened. My mind became very quiet as my heart opened. My need to control and my upset about this tattoo gave way to what I truly care about which is his safety, his health, and his happiness. The tattoo as ugly as it was, was just was not important.