Miranda Lambert has a song out on country radio right now called Heart Like Mine. I heard it for the first time this week and had to smile at the lyrics, "Daddy cried when he saw my tattoo, Said he’d love me anyway".
No, I don't have a tattoo but let's flash back to the spring of 1998 shall we?
A senior in college and twenty one years old, I had just finished my student teaching and was on the verge of college graduation. In a few short months I would be plunged into the life of responsible adulthood which would include a full time teaching job though I didn't know it at the time. I felt like I was at the edge of a the high dive about to jump into a pool with the knowledge I'd never be back on the high dive again. I had to make this leap memorable!
So I went and got my belly button pierced. It was hidden. It wasn't permanent like a tattoo. It was just a bit rebellious. It wasn't any different that pierced ears in my book. But....I wasn't shouting out to the world about my little bit of belly bling. Oh, I told my sisters and a couple close friends but that was pretty much it.
Fast forward a few weeks to Easter weekend. My two other sisters were home from college. It was a warm and sunny Saturday and we were enjoying being home with Mom, Dad and our four other younger siblings. All in all it was just about the perfect day.
Then my sister and I started bickering. I don't even remember what about but I was probably being a bossy older sister trying to convince my 19 year old sister that I was smarter than her. (What a load of bull, she is SOOO much smarter than me by the way!) And by means of putting me in my place she retorted, quite loudly, in front of everyone, "Yeah! Well at least I didn't get my belly button pierced!"
My dad looked straight at me. At that moment all I was hoping for was that I would sink through the floor.
All he said was, "Did you?"
"Yeah." was my feeble reply.
Then Dad got up and went to his gun safe and got out his shotgun and a box of shells. My knees were knocking together. I had no IDEA what he had in mind. I knew he wasn't going to shoot me or anything but was he mad enough to shoot my car or something? My mind was racing in that instant, full of awful scenarios!
Dad calmly opened the back door and walked outside. I watched him as he walked out behind the barn and moments later we heard the shotgun. He was shooting targets out behind the barn where, as a family, we often would waste away an afternoon.
I turned to Mom, "Is he really that mad?" I was really worried. I had never seen my dad react to anything like that before. I really wished he had yelled and screamed and fought with me when he found out about my belly button ring. This total silence was really unnerving.
Mom just grinned. "Don't worry. He'll be fine." I didn't bother telling Mom it wasn't Dad I was worried about. I was much more worried about my own well being!
Dad came back over an hour later. I guess he could only stay out behind the barn for so long after he ran out of shells. He walked up to me; I cringed. He looked at me and said, "Alright. Let's see it." I didn't ask twice what he meant. I showed him, he looked and then he said something to the effect that I was old enough to make my own decisions and the he still loved me.
I can't put myself in Dad's mind. I don't know what he was thinking. Maybe this was tough for him to take because I was the oldest; the first to hit all those crazy kid milestones and who in a few short weeks would be the first to graduate from college. I was probably the most adventurous of my siblings which I'm sure wasn't easy for Dad to handle at times. (I would take road trips by myself and not tell him where I was going so he wouldn't worry. Mom always knew, she just never worried.) Poor guy. I think I was kind of rough on him.
I should tell Dad not to worry; I'll get my payback for causing him so much stress. I'm pretty sure Yip is going to be my rebellious adventurer. On the other hand, I might be the one egging him on to do some wild and crazy stuff....with the hope he'll invite me along.