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Modern Parenthood

Obama daughters tattoo: There’s a loophole in the plan, says a newly tattooed mom

Obama's family tattoo plan to deter his daughters from the needle may backfire, says a newly tattooed mom who has come to see it as art that may be more than skin deep in family meaning.

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Oh, Mr. President, you just blew that door wide open and believe me, I feel your pain. My tribal took about four hours at Fuzion Ink, Norfolk, Va.

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Lisa Suhay, who has four sons at home in Norfolk, Va., is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk (Va.) Initiative for Chess Excellence (NICE) , a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth via mentoring and teaching the game of chess for critical thinking and life strategies.

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If it makes you feel better, tattoos are steeped in tradition, religion, and history since the tribal styles of today originate with ancient tribes from Borneo, the Haida, the Native Americans, Celtic tribes, the Maori, and other Polynesian groups.

Think of all the Olympians who get tattoos of the Olympic rings with the year of their Olympic experience. It’s just a big, inclusive, strong, happy, healthy, fit, all-American family — a large, sport tribe.

By sheer coincidence, I just watched an episode of "Preachers’ Daughters" two nights ago on the Lifetime Channel wherein a preacher’s three daughters go together as one of them gets a tattoo on her forearm. Her mother Victoria Koloff, a Christian preacher who hosts a faith-based radio show, just about loses her mind over the tattoo, despite the fact that the daughter already had one and is well over 18. Understandably, part of the upset is that the older daughter has taken her 16-year-old sister Kolby to witness the event and in so doing made her a convert to body art.

The thing I found valuable in the episode was the daughter explaining the significance of the new tattoo to her preacher mom, “The compass is kinda like for my faith, like always having a moral compass in my heart, ‘cause I’m a Christian. This is you, the North star. And then these are our initials ... So we all go in our different directions but you are like in the center of it all you’re who we look to for direction.” She tried to explain that, for her, the body art was a way of holding her family close to her.

After the Obamas leave the White House and the girls age out of the Secret Service 24/7 tattoo-parlor watch, the Obamas may someday find that old Today Show interview translates into the presidential seal and 2009-2017 on all their ankles.

In all seriousness, parenthood is a permanent bond between the parents and children, documented in ink and bound by blood. From the day our children are born, their names are written indelibly on our souls.

The real test isn’t whether we can prevent them from doing something of which we disapprove, but how quickly we are able to accept their choices and forms of personal expression. Love them deeper than the skin they came in and, as a parent, you can never go wrong.

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