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.”