Friday, September 2, 2011

The Kids Think It's Cool: Dad Has A Tattoo

For the record, getting a tattoo does not feel like you are putting your arm through a sewing machine; although, Cristina, that was a funny line. I’ve had injuries that hurt far worse. Getting a tooth drilled hurts worse than does getting a tattoo. It feels like I have a sun burn. The only truly difficult part was inking Ada’s name. I’ll have to talk to her about the size of her letters. They are BIG. They hurt.

I sat last night looking at my arm with amusement. I actually did it. I have a tattoo. It’s pretty cool. The coolest part is that I don’t just have my children’s names on my arm. I have their signatures. I’ve captured their names as they write them at their current ages: 14, 8, and 7.

Aesthetically, this tattoo could be better. It probably would have been, too, if the first tattoo artist I spoke with was the guy who did the work. I don’t think I could have gotten a better tattoo to match my personality. I am not flashy. I have a blue collar approach to life. That’s why when the tattoo artist finished placing the stencils on my arm, I looked at it thinking, “It’s not exactly what I envisioned.” Then I said, “Eh, works for me.”

My choice of scripture verses was very personal. They were made with a lot of thought. Proverbs 22:6 and Ephesians 6:4 remind me of how I should parent my children. The Boss discovered 1 Samuel 1:27 while we were searching for another verse. It comes from the story of Hannah. When she went to Eli to present her son to the Lord, she said, “I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.” While my use of the quote is out of context, I cannot think of a better reminder of how God answered my prayers when Ada was sick besides her gentle kisses on my cheek each morning. So, I placed that scripture below her name. The fact that the writing is not decorative fits my over all concern for this tattoo. I did not want the artwork to be the focus of attention. The scripture should be the focus of attention. That’s why my arm looks like it went through a typewriter.

Tattooing scripture on my arm raised a series of questions that caught me completely by surprise. I looked at my arm and thought, “What are you going to do with this arm? Are you going to use it in a way that is pleasing to God?” The answer is that I’d better. I permanently emblazoned His Word in my flesh. Can I use that arm to steal? Can I raise it in anger? I have a constant visual reminder of His presence in my life. It’s…humbling. Those questions and the answers to them are the biggest surprises of this process.

Eventually, I will have a little work added to this tattoo to fill the white space between words, but I waited a long time to get this tattoo. I can wait longer to complete it. I think the kids like it. They were all smiles when I took off the bandage, and again the following morning. Ultimately, I am glad that I did it.

Melissa, thank you for this fifteenth anniversary gift.


  1. Cool! All I could think while reading and looking at the pictures was OW!OW!OW!

  2. It makes perfect sense that it is a work in progress. Just like raising children. :o)

    And I'm so glad it didn't feel like running your arm through a sewing machine! I'm still doubtful I'll ever get one, but that is good to know!

    Peace and Laughter,