I get my first tattoo. Any my wife gets her, like, 20th.

Should a tattoo have some type of personal significance? Well, I think so. Probably. After all, it is permanent. It doesn’t come off in the shower in tiny little balls of sticky, greyish-black ink like the temporary ones I’ve put on in the past along with my kids. So why would someone get a tattoo of a Looney Tunes character to display prominently on their body? Well, why not? Maybe it’s an ironic tattoo. Maybe their nickname is Taz. Maybe it’s a statement. Maybe that cartoon has some deeper meaning to them, I don’t know. Not for me to judge. But at the same time, I have met a handful of people who have gotten something similar and later gotten it lasered off, or at least admitted to regretting it.

This is my first goal: get something that I won’t regret.

But I’m not too concerned, really. I’m planning on getting a small circle with symbols for all the members of my family, including, and perhaps most significantly, a symbol for the baby we lost a year ago during pregnancy.

Rebekah made a connection to the artist at one of her women’s group events. From her portfolio I can tell she is a great tattoo artist. I really had fun planning the design of the thing and looking at the artist’s personal art gallery. She even has a personal mission statement. Her approach is holistic; she’ll only tattoo in her home after she’s gotten to know you and sat down to have some tea with you. She’s original. She’ll only do art that’s in her style, and the design has to have meaning. No chance for any Looney Tunes. I asked just for fun.

No problem for us. We like her style and want to go with something we’ve collaborated with on the design. We went back and forth the last few weeks through emails about the design and made just a few slight tweaks. My wife and I are both getting the same basic design, though she will have a bit more elaborate markings as hers will be larger and will cover some parts of an older tattoo on her inner forearm.

The idea is to create something to remember our family members by, including baby Rune who didn’t make it past the second trimester a year ago. The actual design includes a simple circle of rune characters, one for each person, going counter-clockwise. The letter for my name is a bit confusing to people because it’s not a “G”, it’s actually an “X”. But after that it’s simple to follow. Runes also have further meaning; you can research the different symbols online, there’s lots of resources.

Last night we went out and discussed the tattoos over dinner. Just before dessert, she brought something a bit troubling. There is the possibility that rune letters were used as Nazi symbolism in the past. We did not want something offensive to people like that. Yet, other sources showed how they used lots of alphabet systems, symbols, and religions to convey their message of hate. Apparently, they pilfered many cultural icons and languages. However, I believe that only certain symbols were used for hate, and runes are interpreted differently than in days long ago. Ultimately, my wife’s cousin, a quasi-expert on the subject with somewhat of a dubious past, texted us back as we were leaving the waitress a tip, and settled it for us. He seemed to agree with my thoughts. Plus, we decided we didn’t care so much what other people had done in the past. We were getting our tattoos as symbols of love, not hate.

The next morning found me still determined to move ahead. The only issue was driving all the way to the tattooist’s house in tiny Erie, Colorado on an early Sunday morning. Time seemed to crawl by as we drove mostly in silence and reflected on the foggy landscape. I realized my stomach ached. Was it nerves or was it the result of staying out too late night and eating lots of rich food? I didn’t feel much like eating this morning. I concluded it must be nerves, I guess. The sight of Rebekah getting her tattoo first didn’t help much, either. Although the needles are tiny and the artist worked quickly, I could tell there was an amount of pain involved.

One thing about me you should know is that I have an extreme aversion to needles. I’m not totally sure how I’m going to fare in the tattoo chair. Could prove to be a bit of an issue. I think I may need some type of downer to get through this. Or maybe an upper. I don’t know. Is it too late? Let’s ask Google. OK, it appears that you’re not supposed to do any of that before you get your tattoo or it can affect the quality of the tattoo. Apparently it will make your blood thin and could lead to excessive bleeding. OK, now my lips feel numb. Mnnmmnn, dis ees not goob. My mouf, she numb!

Second goal: don’t pass out.

Ok. Lord, forgive me. I’m gonna need a favor to get through this one. Never mind that I’m getting a tattoo the size of a quarter and it may be like ten minutes of pain. What, you judging me? I mentioned my aversion, didn’t I? It’s no joke! I faint every time I give blood. Not even a real donation of a bag of blood, I’m talking a tiny vial of blood so the doctor can do my annual physical. I’m not kidding. Ask my kids and they’ll tell you a cute story about me passing out in front of them and hitting the floor at the doctor’s office one time a few years back. Their initial horror has turned into hilarity over time; they love that story.

Anyway, the tea and some good music helped put me at ease in her waiting room. It was now my turn and I took a deep breath and sat down. Bekah said some things to make me laugh. Ha ha, is that my dinner about to come up? No, false alarm. Totally fine. The whole thing took ten minutes, including cleanup. It was painful, but no problem. It was cool. We took pictures, then exchanged hugs and picked up the kids from a friend’s house and drove back home. Did it, Rune!

Here’s the tattoo artist’s thoughts about the tattoos that she later posted on Instagram:

“In the dark clearing stood a pale tree, grown of love, life and family. Glowing from within, touched by moon and stars. This piece sang. I heard the laughter of their children as each family members essence revealed their glyph to me. Carved within the tree’s trunk of this family tree of life.

The top of the tree, the branches and leaves, are an abstract copy of the audio file of their son’s heartbeat. And though he may not be with them physically, he stands with them forever as a part of the family tree.

The top of the tree sits at her wrist. The bottom of the tree is at the elbow, cradling the runes of her family’s initials.”

#KrystalBell #tattoos #runes #family #love