Two and a half years ago I turned 50. I wasn't afraid to turn 50. I was happy. My kids threw me a surprise birthday party. And the biggest surprise was that they gave me a trip for 2 to San Francisco. Have I mentioned, I love my kids. After my 51st birthday, I got the huge yearning to get a tattoo. Oh yeah, 51 getting my very first tattoo. Goes back to the "I'm a grown woman now, I'm doing what I want, not what my parents want me to do, not what my husband wants me to do". So I grabbed my friend Lizzie (yes, Lizzie of now engaged to my son) and we went to the tattoo parlor that she had used before. Funny how a 20 year old girl could make me brave.
I walked bravely into the place and showed them the picture I had found that I wanted. Here is what it turned out to be. A daisy flower vine. From the minute I got it, I loved it. I felt so free and alive.
They told me, once you get one, you'll get the craving for another. Were they ever right. I thought and thought. What could I do. Ta-da, I decided to get a little butterfly for each of my grandkids. That way, as I get more grandkids, it would give me the excuse to get another tattoo. Looked up pictures of butterflies and went back. Told them I wanted them around the flower vine.
I was again, overcome with extreme happiness, when I saw my grandkids. The only bad thing was, it was the dead of winter. I had to wear long pants. I couldn't show my legs. This was going to be the longest winter ever!!!!
Made it through Thanksgiving, Christmas and New years. Uh oh, I'm getting the urge, the urge to splurge. I need another tattoo. And why should I just celebrate my grandkids. I needed to get one to celebrate my own children. Who, by the way, loved that I got the first ones. They were proud of me, of me stepping out and being my own person. So I called them all, asked them what they thought of me getting a butterfly for them. They said it would be cool. I let them pick out the color they wanted to be, and the butterfly they wanted. Went back to my favorite place and gave them the pictures, told them which one was supposed to be which color and to do what they thought would look the best. My daughter picked out the red butterfly. My oldest son picked out blue, and my youngest the green. I love how the girl that did it put them as siblings united. And finally, the weather got nice enough that I could wear my capris and see them whenever I wanted.
Doesn't sound like too scary of a midlife crisis does it. The thing is, I was raised to not deface my body. Not to do anything that would upset the parents. But, I became independent at the age of 51. Even tho, to this day, I still haven't told my parents that I got them. I try not to wear anything around them that they will see them. I hate confrontation. I don't want to hear the disgust and shame in their voice. My siblings, another story. Most of them know about them and have seen them. And say they are supportive.
I feel bad that I didn't start doing things for myself way before 51. I hate that until then, I always did things that I perceived would not rock the boat. That would not upset my parents, other than marrying a person that wasn't of my faith. That was upsetting to them. And from the day I married him 31 years ago, I've tried to do everything else that wouldn't upset them. The one thing it did to me, was show me that I would never ever make my children feel like what they did was the end of the world. I know that we all make mistakes in life, and if we don't have a soft place to fall, we feel very alone. And yes, I'm still with the same man I married against my parents wishes and I love him to the ends of my soul.
I also have to give a big shout out to my daughter, who has shown me that it's ok to be who I am. Who loves me even tho we went through a rough time, but who will always be my best friend. And to my 2 sons who have always been there for me, who don't laugh too hard at me when I cry during a sad commercial, and laugh at me often.
So if getting a tattoo is the worst thing I could have done with my midlife crisis, then so be it.
Thus started my journey into adulthood, at the ripe old age of 51.