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  • Approved for CNN

  • Click to view ijourno's profile
    Posted May 2, 2013 by
    ijourno
    Location
    Silver Spring, Maryland
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Show off your "Mom" tattoos

    Thanks Elvis

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     ijourno, a Reuters journalist, says his traditional, 'old-school' mom tattoo has served as a good ice-breaker since he got it in July of 2011. He and his mom were very close when he was growing up, and he recalls late night conversations with her when they both couldn't sleep. His piece of advice regarding tattoos: 'Kids, it's OK to get tattoos, so long as you wait til you're 50.'
    - jne2013, CNN iReport producer

    I've been travelling around the world for more than half my life, now near Washington DC where I live with my wife and two sons, while my Mum (and extended family) are back in Auckland, New Zealand. Wherever I am in the world, it's a long way from Auckland, so I don't get home often. A couple of years ago, my sisters started organizing a surprise 70th birthday party for our mother, inviting people from around the country and around the world, including our family, and her sister, who lives in Arizona. Amazingly it stayed secret and we all arrived to various hiding points around Auckland. We flew in early in the morning, and the party wasn't until the next evening. After trying to sleep off the jetlag for a few hours in the hotel, woke up with nothing to do, so in a stroke of genius decided to go to one of the seedier parts of town to get a tattoo to honor my Mum. Wife was horrified, but boys were fascinated, so off we went, with the tattoo artist being a guy named Elvis, from Hamburg, Germany, in NZ to work but also to study the tattoo art of the indigenous Maori people. Was pretty pleased with the result, getting my first (and only) tattoo at aged 50. Next night we all (about 200 people) gathered in a suburban hall, with one of my sisters arriving with Mum under some pretext or other, to an enormous shout of "surprise" as the door opened. She was of course stunned and spent over an hour walking around the room, shocked to see people she hadn't seen in decades. I was MC for the evening, with all the children (five of us) giving little speeches, and when it came to my turn, I thanked my mother for enduring the pain I must have put her through over the years, so had decided to undergo some pain in her honor, and took off my shirt to show the tattoo. There were gasps and laughs around the room, none moreso than from The Mother, who I knew HATED tattoos, especially after one of my younger sisters had got one in high school many years before, and she had famously blurted out when she saw it "only sailors and prostitutes get tattoos". She couldn't therefore say she liked it on the eldest son who should have known better (though I did have considerably more years to think about it), but I am sure on some level she appreciates it. Now, again many thousands of miles away from home, every time I see the tattoo in the mirror, I can smile about that evening and my Mum's shocked expression at not only seeing us, but all her old friends and relatives, and of course, my tattoo.

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