Ten Years ago, I didn’t have any tattoos. And I’m not sure that I even saw myself getting any one day.

Now?

I have three. And I love them so!

When I first decided that I wanted to get a tattoo, it was 2010. I thought about it for quite a few months before I decided to see a tattoo artist about planning something out.

I knew that I wanted a sunflower and after talking it through with the tattoo artist, he came up with the following, which I got on the top of my right foot, pictured, right, on my wedding day.

He was able to follow my description of the type of sunflower I wanted (not too big in the middle, with more delicate petals) and crafted it to say “Rae” in the vines.

I don’t need the reminder of what it means to me every day, but I love and appreciate it endlessly.

Sunflower Foot Tattoo on Wedding Day

Photo by Richard Giordano Photography (aka Desk to Glory)

 

Brad came with me when I got it done. After the fact he told me that he didn’t think I would handle it so well. Apparently foot tattoos are some of the most painful what with all of the little bones in your feet, but I was able to dig deep and find a place with the pain instead of letting it overcome me. I remember laying on my left side and clutching the hairs at the back of my neck, while I lay there, thinking of my best friend for almost every minute of the two and a half hours it took to finish the tattoo.

Inner Wrist Tattoo of Hearts

For my loves.

It took me a few years after the first one to take the leap for number two. I decided that I wanted to get something in memory of Brad and Archer, I just had to figure out what I wanted! I didn’t want the obvious “BRAD” in a heart or anything. But I went with the heart idea and got the outline of a small heart on my inner left wrist for Brad, with a small shaded-in heart above it to represent Archer.

I knew that when I had another child, I would add just one more small heart beside Archer’s.

What I didn’t see coming was the baby that I lost in between having my two kids. And when I was ready to add a heart for Maverick, it didn’t feel right to add it by itself. The baby that wasn’t viable had been a part of me, after all.

But, still, I didn’t want to add to my wrist piece that I got for my family. I wanted to get something small, completely for myself.

I chose the symbol of a butterfly to represent the fleeting life that I’ll never know and got it in the same size as the ones for my kids. It is behind. My right ear, somewhere a bit more hidden, but noticeable. I have been asked about it a handful of times and every time I am happy to explain the meaning. It’s a reminder to me of how precious life is and how lucky I have to have two instances of my heart living outside my body.

Small Butterfly Tattoo Behind Woman's Ear

I remain the only one in either mine or Brad’s immediate families to have a tattoo (or more than two piercings). I guess that makes me the rebel. Ha!

I’ve never really felt that tattoos are addicting, as some people refer to them.

But that doesn’t mean that I’m done either…

Anya

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