William J. Johnson
Positive Inspirational Personal Growth Stories
It Feels Right
Mercy me! I'm a grandmother - and here I am standing smack-dab in the middle of a tattoo parlour! Her restless eyes darted to and fro taking note of the establishment - especially whether conditions were sanitary. She did not approve of tattoos! Her ranting and raving had been a true showstopper, yet there she stood with her 18-year-old grandson at her side.
It was high school graduation weekend and the grandparents had looked forward to celebrating with their only grandson, Kyle. They are pretty much shockproof when it comes to teenagers, although the mention of a tattoo had blindsided them both.
'I want you both to know I've given serious thought to this for a long time, and I've found a tattoo salon that is safe. They only use new needles. It's really important to me,' Kyle pled his case, hoping for some semblance of understanding. Discussing it with his father had only brought silence. Thus, he turned to his grandparents as he had so many times during the past few years.
* * * * * * * * * *
In November of Kyle's first year of high school, he suddenly lost his mother. She kissed him goodbye as he left for school one morning, and upon returning home that afternoon he learned of her unexpected death just hours before. In the midst of normal teenage angst, the most gruelling challenge of his life was thrown into the mix.
His father began dating rather soon, leaving Kyle to deal with his grief alone. Things went from bad to worse, as did his grades, and even the father/son relationship suffered. Anger began to rear its ugly head as this child struggled with a life that had been turned topsy-turvy!
Counselling eventually smoothed out some of the creases in Kyle's wrinkled mess of a life, but soon he had a stepmother in the house. Learning to live as a blended family led to even more turmoil! Kyle was a bit older and began acting out in more serious ways. A few encounters with alcohol took away his pain temporarily, and he told his grandparents it was the only time he could 'let go' and cry for his mother.
More counselling ensued, some one-on-one, and some as a family unit. Improvement was made, but Kyle was still yearning for the life he had known prior to his motherís death. Acceptance did not come easily, and possibly will never come completely.
* * * * * * * * * *
'Grandma, this is the tattoo I want. What do you think?'
The grandmother had envisioned everything imaginable, and none of it was good. Wringing her hands, she approached Kyle, all the while knowing it would take a miracle to change his mind. She'd been yammering at him all day to no avail. What magical words could sway him? Why won't they come to me!
'Why is he so darned tenacious about this?' she whispered to herself.
Kyle pointed, she looked down at the illustration, and her heart stopped. With unbelieving eyes she viewed a beautiful cross that was adorned with one red rose, and entwined with ribbon. The inscription read: In Memory of Mom
Kyle spoke, 'I want it on my shoulder blade. It will never show unless I'm swimming with friends or something. Besides, it's not something I want to show the whole world Ė it's kind of private to me.'
Tears stung his Grandmother's eyes and her resolve began to soften. How could it not? Kyle's mother had been her only child - she had been through hell too. This young man didn't want any of the strange images she had conjured up in her mind. He was honouring his mother by making a permanent statement about her importance in his life.
In due time the procedure was completed, but not without Grandma and the tattoo artist reiterating how to take care of the wounded area until it completely healed.
'Well, kid! We'll soon know if your mother approves of what just took place.' Grandma was trying to lighten the mood with a little humour now that there was no turning back.
Kyle looked confused. 'Whatcha mean?'
'When we stick our heads out the door we may be struck by lightening!'
Looking mischievously at one another, they gently pushed open the salon door, and slowly stepped outside to be greeted with sunshine, blue skies, and drifting white clouds.
'Whew! I guess Mom isnít as mad as you are Grandma Ö'
'Well, young man, I still don't approve of tattoos, and I'm going to keep nagging about caring for it until itís healed. You donít want any complications!'
Grandmaís brow was furrowed.
'I know, I know. But, Grandma Ė even though everyone thinks it's wrong Ė it feels right to me. I loved my mom so much . . . '
Written by Kathleene S. Baker
Kathy resides in Plano, Texas with husband Jerry, and two precious pups, Hank and Samantha. She enjoys writing, needlework, and fishing. As a freelancer, she has contributed to newspapers, anthologies, magazines, online ezines, Chicken Soup for the Soul and writes a weekly column entitled The Heart of Texas.
This story appeared in InspirEmail No 87 - June 19, 2006
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