Mum, I Want A Unicorn Tattoo
My daughter is four and she has started drawing on herself with pens. I keep taking away the pens and she keeps finding them, but really, how can I be mad? I remember doing the same thing when I was young. I loved the feeling of drawing something that was hard to remove. I would spend ages drawing on paper and then onto my skin so I could pretend I was cool and had a tattoo. My mum also didn't like it, but my mum was not tattooed. I am.
I have a tattoo of an origami crane on the inside of left wrist. I got it last year when I was 33, after many years of putting it off due to worrying what other people would think. I decided I was old enough to take responsibility for my own actions and go and get inked.
First tattoo at 33. Better late than never.
The tattoo means the world to me. It reminds me of my father, my childhood and my life in Japan. No, I didn't spend my childhood in Japan - nor am I Japanese, but I read one story when I was a child that literally changed my life - Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Due to this book I gained an interest in all things Japanese and eventually moved there from Australia when I was 22. In a twist of fate my father found out he had terminal cancer when I was living there so my friends and I folded 1,000 paper cranes like Sadako did in the story. Sadly, like Sadako, my father passed away.
My kids obviously know I am tattooed and last week when we were in the garden my daughter said out of the blue, "Mum, I want a unicorn tattoo. Can I get one?" (Remember, she's four.)
"A unicorn huh? Interesting choice.Why do you want a tattoo?"
"I want a tattoo like your bird."
I smiled. "Well you can't have one now but when you are an adult and if you still want one you can, but that's a long way away."
She grinned. "OK mum. Can I see your bird again?"
"Sure" and we sat down and I told her the story of Sadako for what seemed like the millionth time and my daughter listened. For the first time the name of Japanese girl made sense to her.
"Mum, she has my name. Sadako is my name too."
In true full circle fashion, I named my daughter after Sadako - it's her middle name. There was no other option. It was always going to be Sadako, just like how my first tattoo was going to be an origami crane. The tattoo on my wrist is more than just ink - contained within its lines are stories from three countries and three generations.
I love my tattoo, I'm going to get my second one shortly and I'm really excited as it almost has more meaning to me personally than my crane.
I just wish my daughter would stop drawing on herself.
Pen is really hard to get off.