Tattoos, A Family Afair

I’m ready… ready to get inked. My 20-year-old brother has decided he is going to get one with me! We’ve also chosen who we want to do the work. As of last weekend, we just needed to set up our appointments. So spontaneously last Saturday, he and I decided to meet for our consults and reserve our spots. I told my kids and hubby goodbye and flew out of the house ready to start the process of the most hard-ass thing I’ve ever done in my life. I was pumped! The garage door was on its way up as I opened the door to my minivan. (Yes, a minivan. I already said the tattoo was the most hard-ass thing I’ve ever done.) The door was only a foot off of the ground when I recognized my mother’s shoes, ankles, shins standing just outside of the door on the driveway. I did a double take. My jaw dropped and I stood there paralyzed with my hand on the door handle as the garage door continued to raise, exposing more of her by the second. Busted.

“Hi, Mom,” I said.

“Hi. Are you leaving?” she asked.

“Uh… yes. Chris is getting ready to take the boys to their hair cuts, and I’m meeting Z at a tattoo place,” I said as I winced. I felt my shoulders drop a little and I cocked my head, analyzing her with my squinting right eye. I was sizing her up. It’s like she knew what we were up to! This was no accident! “Did, umm, did he say anything to you about us getting tattoos?” I noticed my voice was an octave higher than usual.

“No!” she said, wielding a huge smile. I have to say she looked incredibly thrilled by this news. I had mentioned getting a tattoo months ago, but I don’t think she really thought I would, and my brother was not part of the equation then.

“OK. Well… OK… Oh, I should… OK, I’ll just catch up with you lat-. Oh, I should go with you! I want to go! Can I go with you?” she sputtered. She was doing a little dance as she tried to decide whether she should leave or stay.

“Sure,” I said.

This wasn’t necessarily meant to be a secret, but I hadn’t gone out of my way to tell many friends or family about our plan. It’s kind of a sacramental thing between my brother and I, and I was looking forward to surprising her after it was done. Both of her kids, 18 years apart, getting tattoos together… I thought it would be sweet in a bizarre kind of way. I called my brother on the way there to let him know our mother was coming with us. He was incredibly laid back about the whole thing.

So in we walked, my mother and I, to the tattoo gallery. Not what I had envisioned for this day, but she totally got the humor of showing up with her kids in a tattoo gallery and she, of course, was a total blast (typical of my mother).

My brother and his girlfriend had been there for a few minutes when Mom and I arrived. They filled me in on availability and we worked out the issue that we both wanted the same artist. We obviously have to go back-to-back instead of at the same time. I claimed the first spot so I don’t have to be anxious about mine while he is getting his. (The circumstances of this event override my nurturing tendencies as his big sister. “Move over, brother. I’m going first.”) This particular artist is booked until the end of August so we put down our deposits for sessions on August 24th. I’m so ready, I would have gotten mine on the spot if he could have worked me in so waiting until the end of summer was a huge surprise and a fairly big disappointment. But now I have all summer to look forward to it, and it will be easier to keep it out of the sun then. (See how easy it is to look for the silver lining?)

It will also give us some time to finish convincing our mom to get one, too.


After sharing this post on my private FB page, there was quite a dialogue and lots of support (and, of course, a few disapprovals), which is hilarious because at no point did I ask for people’s permission or opinion. 😉 But here’s a comment I posted in response to the support I received.

“Thanks, guys! This tattoo means SO MUCH to me! It’s not just a pretty design or a trendy symbol. The artwork and colors ALL have significance. Even if I hate the way it looks when I’m 90, I will remember the reasons why I did it, the conviction I felt when I decided to do it, and the pain I endured to achieve something that was important to me. EVERY element of this tattoo means something to me. Even walking into the Xxxxx Tattoo Gallery for the first time was a new experience for me. I want to be reminded of this amazing time of my life when I’m older. It will remind me of all the challenges I’ve conquered along side my incredible husband, the personal growth I’ve experienced, the creative overflow, the love I’ve felt and shared over my life… There’s a small part of me that worries it won’t turn out like I’m envisioning it, but I figure I’ll have a good story to share and still feel good about taking the risk. Good thing I’m not vain and less of a control freak than I used to be! 🙂 That’s probably why it has taken me so long to finally get it done. The old me wouldn’t have trusted anyone to do it. Xoxo”

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