Saturday, July 19, 2014


Tonight I made a move that I decided well over a year ago to make: I got Picasso'ed. Seven years ago when I got my first tattoo, the artist told me that he felt certain I would get another in my lifetime. I told him there was no way. One was enough. The wise man would have made money on me though, because after about five years I began longing for another, this one in symbolism of my children. Being a mother has been the most transformative experience that I could have ever imagined, and as if my body changes aren't evidence enough of that fact, I tattooed it on myself to remain with me through my days. BJ accompanied me and was, as ever, a great sport about my decision of body 'better-fication.'

The story behind the tattoo: Four and a half years ago, BJ and I decided to do an owl nursery theme, and we both agreed that Pablo Picasso's most famous "Owl" sketch belonged on the wall of the nursery.

I can't tell you how many times in the middle of the night I have stood beside the crib rocking a baby in my arms and staring at that sketch. Sometimes I marveled at the simplicity, sometimes I longed for sleep, sometimes I cried in frustration or joy, all while looking at the sketch. So, there you have the symbolism for the image chosen. That owl will always remind me of my three beautiful boys in the early years of their lives--the years that revamped my soul.

I chose the five night-sky stars surrounding the bird for several reasons, but primarily to represent Silas, George, Van, Owen, and Aiden. These five very special boys have filled my heart to its brim and beyond. Two of them are in Heaven and three are here on Earth, and all have made me a better person. I also chose five stars because there are five of us in our family, and I grew up in a happy, busy family of five. Only recently has the number 'five' come to mean even more, thanks to little Ben Sauer. His story has made me a better mom, and, at relatively the last minute, I knew I had to find a way to have him represented in this tattoo. The number five worked perfectly to embrace Ben as well though, as Ben was five years old and was born on May 5th--5/5. With Ben, the image was complete, with all of the special little boys, plus BJ and my own wonderful family-of-origin, finding a place in the framework. The stars, much to my tattoo artist Renee's chagrin, were to be drawn imperfectly, sort of Charlie-Brown style if you will. It was very hard for her to not draw them perfectly! You could see the effort she made just to try to mess them up. I love my decision, though, because I feel that the whimsical nature of the imperfect, asymmetrical stars encapsulates my personality, my love for "A Charlie Brown Christmas," and perfectly accompanies my first tattoo, which is a very Dr. Seuss-ish pine tree.

Should I ever forget my fortunate lot in life and deliriously come up short on reasons to be thankful, I now need only look down as I put my best foot forward. Cheers, friends.

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