01/23/2014 04:10 pm ET Updated Mar 25, 2014

An Open Letter to My Daughter, Who Will (Someday) Ask For Her First 'Real' Tattoo

Karri-Leigh P. Mastrangelo

To My Daughter,

I've always known the day would come when you would casually mention getting your first tattoo, just as I've known that there would be little I could do to impact your decision. Still, I feel a maternal responsibility to weigh in before you permanently mark up your beautiful body.

I say do it. I support you completely... under one condition. (Come on. You knew that was coming.)

As an infant, you wanted so badly to hold your head up long before your neck was strong enough to carry the load. So, I supported you.

As a cruiser, you wanted nothing more than to strut right over to the couch and steal the remote months before your little legs could carry you there. So, I supported you.

As a toddler, you wanted to remove the side rail on your big girl bed long before I was certain you wouldn't go bump in the night. So, fearfully, I supported you.

I cannot imagine how many times you have wanted to do something long before your father and I were ready to let you do it, nor can I imagine the young woman you would be if I could.

All I have ever wanted for you is to be an individual. I have never had strict demands for who you should become or not become, believe or not believe, love or not love.

I demand only one thing from you, and that is for you to be happy in your own skin -- be it tan or pale, firm or saggy, au naturale or inked.

In this life we are allotted many a freedom, the most important of which is that of expression. I have done my best to exercise mine, both long before you were a twinkle in my eye and (most) everyday since, hoping to lead for you by example. Now comes the even more difficult task of letting you lead your own way, however challenging that may be for me.

So, here comes my one condition. Remember that very little in life lasts forever... except that tattoo. Like with anything, think it through, choose wisely and go with something you will be proud to bear until your very last day. (It also doesn't hurt to go with a spot that is easy to hide. That's what I did with all four of mine.)



Follow Karri-Leigh's adventures as a television producer, blogger and mom on Dirty Laundry & Dirty Diapers.