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Inked: Part 5

Part 5 takes place on Saturday, February 27th.

I'm sitting in the tattoo parlor, waiting for my appointment. I have my pictures & design inspirations clutched between my fingers on sheets of thin & folded computer paper. I was waiting to get inked. Marked with a permanent reminder of the journey I went through to bring Rowan into the world. Marked with a reminder that I came out stronger with a deeper-rooted faith than before. Marked with a reminder of my son, the ultimate, unimaginable blessing.

My name was called. I stood up and shakily handed my ideas to Eli, the very tall Italian artist with tattoos behind his ears and under his chin. I showed him where I wanted my art to go. He looked them over and said "I know just the thing. Let me go draw something up and we'll go from there, okay?" I nodded silently. He smiled.

The lobby was crowded now, full of young college girls looking through drawings of stars and flowers. I looked down at my foot, which had unknowingly slipped out of my black flat. There was that star... that little blue star I had chosen when I was eighteen and ridiculous. This next one was going to be different. Much different. I've come a long way since then.

Eli came out with a drawing etched on a small piece of paper. He handed it to me and asked, "What do you think?" I cradled it in my palm. It was delicate. Feminine. Beautiful. But it was powerful, bold and much bigger than I originally thought I would get.

"It's perfect." I replied with a big smile and wide eyes. He smiled back, knowing he knocked it out of the park. "Killer. Let's get you tatted!" Rubbing his hands together in anticipation, he motioned with a nudge of his head to follow him.

I followed him back to his work station where another artist was working on a full-sleeve tattoo on a young girl about half my age and size. He had a seat ready for me, with a padded arm rest. He got all of his tools together and placed the stencil where I wanted it to go. He had me look at it once again and I was ready.

"Alright, here we go." The high-pitched motor of the needle was unnerving at first, but I got used to the sound. He started to tattoo me. It didn't hurt nearly as bad as I remembered. Perhaps my pain tolerance has escalated since I was eighteen. Eli asked how I was doing, and I looked down at my wrist and replied "Great! How are you?" He laughed. He told me I wasn't what he expected.

"What's that supposed to mean?" I asked, with a little bit of attitude behind it.

"I don't know, you just seemed like a nice quiet girl, not used to this kind of pain. I figured you'd have a hard time." He shrugged.

"Well, I've taken quite a physical and emotional beating over the last year. I guess I'm tougher than I look." I smiled.

Eli said with a smile, "It would appear so. What'd you go through that was so bad?"

At this point, I dove into my story while he worked on my tattoo. He kept pausing and looking up at me, mouth open at points of the story. I explained everything. The whole story from start to finish, in about 25 minutes of time. I explained that I was getting this tattoo because of that story.

Before I knew it, he was finished. He stopped and looked at me straight in the eyes and said "Girl, you deserve this tattoo. I hope it's what you wanted."

I looked down at my new art. It was perfect. He wrapped it up and gave me care instructions. I thanked him profusely for his work. I promised him I'd refer everyone I knew to him. He shook my hand and said "No, thank you. You've got a hell of a story. You should tell it."

I smiled, nodded, thanked him again, and walked out.


So what did I get tattooed? I got a tree on the inside of my wrist. A tree that, in my mind, has deep roots. A tree that has strength and perseverance. It's a symbol of life. A tree is also able to bring forth life. And of course, "Rowan" is a kind of tree that you can find in the hills of Ireland and the British Isles.

So, I thought it fitting to get marked with a reminder of my own strength & perseverance, the steadfast love and strength of my husband, the faithfulness of God who rescued me in my times of deep need & kept my son safe.

It’s a reminder that I have Rowan. My son. My joy. He is the life that I carried and brought forth, despite the seemingly impossible obstacles.

It’s a reminder that it’s my responsibility as a mother to make sure Rowan is rooted & raised in things that are true and good. It's my prayer that he would bless others with life, truth and strength.

It's a reminder that I stand a little taller now. The roots of my faith are even more entrenched.

So, I’m now inked.
I’m blessed beyond measure.
I’m thankful.
I'll try to live my life according to that gratefulness, and I'll be reminded of it every day.


  1. Wow. I just came across your blog and read your birth (and tattoo!) story. So amazing. You brought tears to my eyes. You've come through so much and your love for your son shines through in everything you've written. Thanks for the tears and smiles this morning! And, of course, your ink is beautiful!

  2. WOW! I am tearing up reading this. I am glad I found your blog. I love your tattoo

  3. Love your tattoo. Love that your story has a happy ending.

    You give me hope, friend.

  4. Lovely. . .in design and in sentiment!

  5. What a beautiful story! Just recemtly came across your blog and will be keeping up with it from now on, for sure.

    I too, have a Row(E)n... what a wonderful name and beautiful little boy you have! Congratulations on making it to where you are today.