Yep, I started out 2012 with a bang. I got my first tattoo.

Now, I didn’t do it to look hip (if hip is even the up-to-the-minute word for….well, up-to-the-minute.)

It’s on a hidden place on my body. But don’t worry, it won’t embarrass you (or me) for me to show you in a public place.

It’s an animal. But surprisingly, not one of my animals.

It’s Mama Bunny from Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown, a children’s book I read to my kids when they were little. (I love the illustration that mirrors the ‘cow jumping over the moon’ illustration in Wise’s other popular children’s book, “Goodnight Moon”.) My Mama Bunny is the one from the very last page, where Mama Bunny and Baby Bunny are eating carrots together. (I asked to NOT have the carrot added. Didn’t seem right to have a carrot on my ear.)
Oops. Gave away the tattoo location. It’s on the back of my right ear.

How did this come to be?

Well, this summer, soon after my daughter announced her engagement, she asked me to accompany her to get her third tattoo.

Robin has unusual tattoos. The first is a heart. Not a cute little Valentine’s Day heart, but an anatomically correct heart illustration. I keep forgetting to ask her what it symbolizes, but knowing her, I’d guess strength and passion and core values, with no sugar-coating.

Her second is a line from the great Russian poet, Marina Tsvetaeva. These powerful words encircle her left wrist– Where does such tenderness come from?–from the love poem of the same name. It looks like a flowing wreath of Elven-speak, as beautiful as the words themselves.

So what was Robin’s choice for her third tattoo?

Why, it’s Baby Bunny! She had it done on the back of her right ear, at one of our local tattoo parlors, Mom’s Tattoo. And she asked me to go with her.

It was my first visit to a tattoo studio. I loved the signs (“YES, it hurts!” and “We tattooed your mom!” Can you say, “Foreshadowing!”…?) I held her hand, though she assured me it hardly hurt at all. I complained, teasingly, that now I had to get my ear tattooed, too. After all, if your daughter is willing to endure pain to proclaim her joy in being your daughter, don’t you have to follow suit? She said no need, but I knew.

Soon after, the season from hell started. It’s still not my story to tell, but suffice to say, my daughter is safe, and healing, the engagement is off, the danger has moved on, and life slowly returns to normal.

And when Robin came home for Christmas break, I told her we had to get my Mama Bunny tattoo.

Just to warn you, yes, it hurt. But it didn’t last very long. Robin held my hand. The artist told us he had just done his own mother’s very first tattoo, just before us. (She had a BIG one, with full color, of his name and his brother’s name. SHE was a better mom, tattoo-wise, than I!)

Now we hope to convince my son to get a Baby Bunny tattoo, too. I’m sure he’ll refuse, for many years. But I think someday, when he is less fierce about his independence, and space, he might consider it.

My husband mourns the lack of Daddy Bunny in the tail…er, tale…but I think he’s secretly glad he doesn’t have to get a tattoo.

And as I hold my family safe, with love, and the fierce honesty and respect that got us through that wrecking ball of a relationship, I am so very, very grateful for my blessings.

It’s good to be human, with all the pain, and fear, yes, and even the despair that comes with it.

For then there can be hope, and love, and gratitude, too.

“If you become a bird and fly away from me,” said his mother, “I will be a tree that you come home to.”

Author: Luann Udell

I find it just as important to write about my art as to make it. I am fascinated by stories. You can tell when people are speaking their truth--their eyes light up, their voices become strong, their entire body posture becomes powerful and upright. I love it when people get to this place in their work, their relationships, their art. As I work from this powerful place in MY heart, I share this process with others--so they have a strong place to stand, too. Because the world needs our beautiful art. All of it we can make, as fast as we can! Whether it's a bowl, a painting, a song, a garden, a story, if it makes our world a better place, we need to do everything in our power to get it out there.

10 thoughts on “ME, THE TATTOOED LADY”

  1. I have two tattoos (on my leg, and they’re old enough to drink), and would like to get more (on my shoulder)… but I still think they hurt, and they must hurt more some places than others… OMG woman, your ear?! ouch!!
    very cool. Proud of you. oxo


  2. that is very touching – only one of my daughters has a tattoo – I like the idea of generational tattooing!! That end quote is lovely – thank you Luann – it would be great if you participated in my collaborative project – do have a look on my blog and see if it speaks to you


  3. Love the symbolism in your tattoos and your daughter will always be reminded how much you love and support her.
    When my daughter was 16, she declared she’d like to get a tattoo. I said to her that if she still felt that way when she was 18, I would go with her and we’d get inked together. Well, when she was 22, she decided it was time and asked me to design them. Now we both have a variation of a growing vine on our feet – hers on her left and mine on my right foot. Hers has lots of green while mine has orange around the leaf edges. For both of us, it’s meant to represent growth.


  4. As I moved into this year and my health deteriorated rapidly I have decided to get my tatts amended as I wanted.It is now on my list of must haves and I will do this before I pass.
    My baby bunny died last week.I watched him helplessly and asked why I was being subjected to such a painful episode.The answer was ” because this is your reflection”. I have been watching whilst I got sicker and sicker and I have done nothing about it because I was hoping someone else would.Reading about your Mumma bunny has once again pointed out to me that my baby didnt need to die in vain and the lesson he came here to teach me has been learnt.I have just made arrangements to get to medical care that will be useful instead of sitting and waiting.I am not ready to yet to let go of this 3Dness and I have so many things that are of value to share and so I will be a whole lot selfish and look after me.
    I trust that you are doing the same.
    Love and Hugs to you and yours and to all that read this.


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