After years of insistent lobbying, and following a dramatic alcohol-fuelled New Year’s Eve capitulation on my part, my daughter now sports a pug in a donut tattoo.
I know I said it was a monstrosity. I know I said I’d rather buy her a real doughnut and a real dog before I agreed to her having this inked on her forever. I know. (Incidentally, we do now have a dog, although it’s a labrador and not a pug, but that’s another story).
But I realised that, for once, my girl with Prader-Willi Syndrome, the rare chromosome disorder that shapes and dictates so much of her life, deserved a choice. Something of her own. Something that made her beam with happiness. And trust me - she’s beaming.
The kindness of strangers never fails to smoothe the world’s sharp edges. Tattooist Pete charmed by my daughter’s anxious excitement, came in on his day off to painstakingly paint the pugnacious creation.
He gave her a special price, for a special girl, for her special birthday (it’s an early 21st present). And he listened and chatted and explained as she quizzed him, told him random plotlines from Emmerdale, repeated how she was “obsessed with pugs” over and over again, but didn’t moan once - in three hours - about any discomfort. This wasn’t a surprise; PWS comes with a high pain threshold, but I’m sure her stubbornness and determination would have carried her through anyway.
Something quite magical happened; as I watched the design take shape, it changed. It was copied from the original screengrab, and was still - very definitely - a pug in a doughnut. In my head it wasn’t what I would have chosen. But as the happiness radiated from my daughter, and Pete and the other tattooists’ delighted in her delight, my head took a back seat to my heart. It was perfect. It was my girl’s silly, sprinkled, singular choice. It was her.
Oh, and did I mention? I got tattooed too.
Song is Carter USM - Let's Get Tattoos
We've been helped hugely over the years by the PWSA UK (Prader-Willi Syndrome UK) - an amazing charity who do tremendous work supporting people with PWS, their families, and professionals who work with them. To find out more about the condition and the charity click here . If you can spare a few quid please click on the Donate Now button on the right hand side of their home page.