Dear Amy: My 45-year-old daughter got a large tattoo on her inner arm. Imagine my surprise when I finally saw it. I said to her, “Is that real?” She laughed and said, “Yes.” Nothing further was said during my visit except for once when I stated, “I don’t like tattoos.”
That was three years ago. Life went on, and the tattoo dissolved, for me, into the background of our relationship. Now, she has sent me pictures of her with her dogs, husband, friends, etc., and I am seeing another tattoo. We are planning another visit. What do I say, if anything?
She obviously wants me to notice. This is a woman who has a very responsible job, but is choosing (in my opinion) to defile her body.
It’s probably generational, but I can’t stand to see my daughter with tattoos. I just don’t know how to approach it. I think I got it wrong last time. Please tell me what to say.
Amy says: Sometimes I fall back on this: “If you can’t find something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
For your daughter, these tattoos are not a defilement, but a decoration. A statement. Part of her external identity. And yes, your reaction is largely generational.
Before preparing any response, absorb this reality: Your daughter is her own person. Her body belongs to her. She is not deliberately trying to upset you. She is just living her life.
You have choices regarding this relationship. You can choose to focus on something you see as a flaw and take it personally, or you can choose to love your daughter wholeheartedly, regardless of her adornment, and accept and embrace her, just as she is.
Kids left in cars
Dear Amy: My normal routine is that my licensed child-care provider picks up my 5-year-old from school at 2:15 and cares for him until I finish work.
When she recently had a medical appointment, I agreed to pick him up and bring him to her, where her backup staff would care for him.
I forgot to pick up my own child! At about 4:20, I tore out of work and found him, safe and sound, at the after-school program at his school.
I was horrified.
This got me thinking about the numerous deaths (450 babies and toddlers since 1998, 37 in 2016) that occur every summer because children are accidentally left in cars.
Very often, this occurs because of a variation in the parent’s normal routine. That could have easily been me, and I have the greatest sympathy for the parents who have lost a child in such a tragic way.
Please, let’s everyone get in the habit of throwing our purses/briefcases/lunch bags/office keys in the back seat when we buckle in our child so that we are forced to look in the back seat when we get to our destination. And please, every child-care provider should start making calls to the parents if a child does not arrive within a few minutes of the expected time.
Amy says: Statistics of children dying of heatstroke in cars show that this tragedy is happening more often. As you point out, this can happen especially when there is a variation in the normal routine. There are products that promise to prevent parents accidentally leaving children in cars, but your solution is practical and wise.
Send questions to Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.