Family tattoo day

16 Jan

The holidays are a time to celebrate what makes you special as a family. In our case, it’s five people either emotionally stuck in, or actually living through, their early 20s.

So, tattoos. It’s a Christmas miracle!

First, we have Ol’Boy, who up until recently was a tattoo virgin, but as we heard and has proved true, once you get one, you only crave more. The first is not just an ode to the childhood toy he was never (thankfully) allowed to own (think unrequited Red Ryder BB gun), but more significantly, it’s a nod to his family’s love for and dedication to music (“Sick for Motorbike” is a song by a Japanese group called the Pillows, something Cal introduced him to and we all rocked out to because it was obvious this group didn’t know a lick of English) and our family’s dedication to living life purposefully and not being lulled into stereotypical categories.

Here’s Billy’s first tat:

Cal has three other tats: a Spiderman logo on his inner arm, a richly colored and beautifully rendered Calvin and Hobbes on one inner forearm, and a lightning bold on his inner wrist. He was the first in the family to get any sort of ink, and like a good parental figure, I made sure I was good and anguished about it, even going so far as to (ridiculously) suggest that he DRAW IN SHARPIE the tat he wanted, where he wanted it, and see if he got sick of it after a week. Imagine my surprise when he did just that — and became positive he wanted it.

Here is the Calvin and Hobbes tat (Cal’s middle name is not Danger. It’s Hobbes):

Sam is the real pro. He’s had seven to this point (I think?). Of course, Cal gets a little bitty lightning bolt, and Sam comes home with this:

That was a little bit of a shocker at the time. Now I love it. The rest vary from small …

To especially large and significant:

Sierra also has some pretty extreme ink — placement-wise, anyway. She’s got a blue dragon on the back of her neck, and some odes to JRR Tolkien and her family, as well.

All of them said they wanted tats for Christmas, so a family tattoo day became part of the holiday celebration (made special with an extended Cal and Sierra tw0-week trip to Oklahoma, which happily meant lots of togetherness).

We started to day at the delish Kaiser deli in downtown OKC where they served the MOST amazing crab bisque I’ve ever slurped, and since it was an old ice-cream fountain, specialized in adult sundaes. We then headed to No Regrets, where our artist, Ashley, spent the entire afternoon arting us up.

Batting first was Sisi, who started with some Victorian roses in mind and ended up with a more classical sailor tattoo look:

Cal was next, and his was another cartoon inspired work — Ant Man! Riding an ant, of course.

Sam decided it was time to memorialize his own love of music and upcoming move to Hotlanta with a pair of colorful headphones:

(It should be noted that Sam was the most willing of all of us to let our artist work her magic, and we were all thrilled with the results. I love the 80s hiphop vibe of this.)

Billy fulfilled his lifelong wish for a second tattoo, one from “The Natural” — “Wonderboy.” I had always objected to this simple design because, No. 1, it was too simple. I’m a go-big-or-go-home (from hereon out to be written as GBOGH) with tattoo designs. No. 2, I think it seems arrogant, and he’s about the further thing from arrogant a human can be. But so far most people have gotten the reference.

I remained on the fence right up until the day of about getting inked myself, but when it came time to pull the trigger, I had to listen to Sam’s sage advice: “If you don’t reaaaaaally want a tat, you probably shouldn’t get one, because it’s going to be there forever.” Excellent parenting skills, that Sam.

So I compromised and went with the one body modification I really DID want:

I adored it from the moment it popped into place. (People asked me if it hurt, and I could accurately tell them that it felt like someone stuck a needle through my nose. Why is that not an acceptable explanation? Can you not envision/feel that sensation?)

Here’s the gang with Ashley:

We ended the day with burgers and sugar (cleverly disguised in thousands of bottles as something called “soda pop”).

As holiday traditions go, it was unusual, but that’s what made it so much fun. I am blessed to have been welcomed by these children years ago, and they (and the one fiance between them) have been so important in shaping who I am. I love them all deeply — I’m not their mom, but I love being their maternal/business figure and I count my blessings whenever they are around.

If I ever did get a tattoo, I’d probably try to recreate that happy picture above, when they are basking in the aftermath of a family time wherein they got to be who they really are.

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