I have two tattoos in two discreet locations. Fine. I’ll admit it. One of them is a tramp stamp. Still, looking at me, you’d never know I have ink.


 But my children, the ones who don’t understand the word privacy, have seen my tattoos. They trace the claddagh on my lower back as I try to pretend I’m going to get another five minutes sleep.


“Pretty, Mama.”


Two of my three sisters have tattoos. One has young Elvis twisting his hips on her leg while my parents’ youthful faces gaze out at the world from her bicep. (One guess who won “best daughter” that year.)


When my children see her tattoos, they gaze in wonder and awe at the pretty pictures on Auntie Missa’s body.


So it should come as no surprise to anyone that they themselves like to get inked.


Usually with permanent markers.


Almost always across their faces.


And never when we’re going to be staying home for two days.


They love their tatted up bodies, proudly walking through the house with red stripes down their faces, purple circles on their legs and orange dots on their arms. They never use the yellow. That would make clean up too easy.


I usually chase after them trying to explain that as beautiful as they look – like Picassos on LSD – they really need to draw on paper instead of their bodies. To which Joseph always replies, “But you drew on yourself.”


Which puts me in an awkward position.


Because while I don’t regret my tattoos – regret would be a waste of time – I don’t particularly want my children to ink up their gorgeous, flawless skin. I think that may make me a hypocrite. I hate that.


Do you have tattoos? What do you tell your children about them?