At the age of 65, no longer having things like job interviews hanging over my head, I have become mildly obsessed with tattoos.
I actually got my first tattoo over 20 years ago. When my daughter, Brigid, turned 18 she had to try out some “adult” things. The morning she turned 18, she rushed out to buy a pack of cigarettes. She had no real desire to smoke, she wanted to get carded. And she was, to her delight. Drinking was still set at 21 where we were living at the time. BUT it was 18 on a train. So a trip was on her list of to dos. There were other things but the one that shocked me was she got a tattoo. The reason I was shocked was because this was the kid who made a scene every time she had to get a shot. She was so bad that someone gave her a bullet. You know, to bite on every time she was at the doctor’s. But here she was with a tattoo of Tweety Pie (her nickname since she was a baby when I thought they had similarly shaped heads) on her left ankle.
Sadly, Brigid died at 19. One of the things I did was get the same tattoo on my left ankle with the addition of her name over it and her birth and death dates below. I don’t remember much about it. I don’t know if it hurt or not. Part of that was the grief. But a larger part was fear. The tattoo artist had been a good friend of Brigid’s and he was crying so hard during the time he was doing my tattoo that I was afraid he would mess it up. He didn’t.
Tattoo number one did not start me on a tattoo frenzy. To be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of them. I thought they were a bit trashy, in fact. I had done my one as a tribute. But several years ago I got the idea to get another tattoo. Things kept getting in the way. I would be all set to do it but a scheduled surgery would prevent it (fear of infection), for example. But recently I was discussing it with my son and he decided we should both get the tattoo (the last line of the last note Brigid left me) and do it together. He got his on his neck and I got mine on my right wrist where I would see it constantly.
Something happened after this tattoo. I started planning my NEXT tattoo. Actually, the next TWO. One is going to be a St. Brigid’s cross on the top of my right foot. And the other, which is going on the back of my neck (so it can be seen when my hair is up) involves a combination of my Irish/Celtic/Ogham birth symbols. I’m sure I will post it when it is done. I’m working on the design, which is rather intricate, at the moment. It involves a horse, holly, and the Ogham symbol for holly. My son, Tony (who has a good few tattoos), and I have been consulting on this. He planned to do a St. Brigid’s cross as well, although more intricate than the one I am planning. And I’ve been working on his birth sign one which involves a swan, a vine, and the ogham symbol for a vine. The next tattoo didn’t turn out to be another mother son outing as he was talking about it the other night and some friends surprised him with an appointment to get it done.
Anyways, I’m writing this as a cautionary tale. Remember the old Lay’s Potato Chip commercial about how no one can eat just one? Well tattoos are like that.