In Her Words
Reflections of a rebellious daughter
By: Katie Egan
My mother and I were trying on shoes in Nordstrom when she saw my tattoo for the first time. I was purposely wearing what I considered to be fairly high-waisted jeans, but I guess I grew careless on the home stretch of our four-hour, mother-daughter shopping spree. As I leaned over to adjust the straps on a pair of (adorable) Coach sandals, my mom muttered the words that I had hoped I’d never hear: “Katie, did you get a tattoo?” I think I blacked out for the next few seconds, perhaps mouthing a quiet “yeah” as my mom stormed out of the department store.
I had gotten the tattoo about seven months earlier, during the fall semester of my junior year of college. I was studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, and had wanted to mark the life-changing experience-permanently. At the time, I struggled over whether I would tell my mom. I knew good and well that she’d kill me, but I also knew that I’d be arriving back in the States mid-December, and concealing my tat beneath bulky sweaters and sweatpants would be a breeze.
Christmas had passed without a hitch, but eventually summer rolled around, and I was back at home for two weeks before departing for my New York City internship. The fear of my mother’s wrath had calmed quite a bit, and I think a part of me wanted her to see it. The thought of telling her face-to-face was something I just couldn’t bear.
After the spotting, my mother and I didn’t speak for several days. Literally. She refused to look at me in passing, and my youngest brother even approached me at one point to ask if someone had died. What is it about moms and tattoos, anyway? My older brother also has one (a green shamrock on his “cheek”), which she also hates, yet she subtly smirks every time he reminds her of its existence. (Alas, the curse of being the only girl!)
I must admit, though, I worry about what I’ll tell my kids. I think I’ll be able to hide it fairly easily; that is, until I get the inevitable question from my teenager: “Mom, what would you do if I got a tattoo?” What would I do? At that point, I guess I would have no choice but to fess up. But I swear-if that child gets it anywhere, anywhere, that can’t be covered up on her wedding day, I’ll have her sweet little free-spirited head.