Monday, June 30, 2014

that string that surpasses generations

"My grandparents did these things. My parents, too. 
If I take the pattern and throw it out, what does that say about their lives? Or mine? 
From generation to generation, these rituals are how we remain... Connected."  
-Mitch Albom, have a little faith

It isn't often, or ever, that I start a post with someone else's words. But, these are so right, so spot on, so YES, that it seemed the only way to do this right. 
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That ink -permanently etched into his back and arms, into my arm and feet- is our connection. From generation to generation we share color, art, ink.  
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Some days I imagine what I'll say when my toddler comes into the kitchen after writing all over their arms in Crayola Washable Marker or, more ironically, Sharpie. How do I, Mama covered in ink, say no to them, baby covered in ink? 

Instead I will look upon those babes with the baby blues that were his, then mine, now theirs and think how it's in our skin. It itches for color, for art, for beauty. It itches for connection from him to me to them. And, while I'll wash them clean later, I'll enjoy that tie across the generations for now. 
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Some days I imagine what I'll say when my child now adult, legal and allowed, wants their own ink. How do I, Mama covered in ink, say no to them, adult seeking his own? My answer: I won't. 

Instead, I will remember my eighteen-year-old self sitting beside him in the parlor as our artists rendered our wishes and stenciled our skin and took to us with needles. I'll remember his patience over the four and a half hours he was poked and prodded and given ice creams with Coke Zero. I'll remember the way we both bled more than expected and the artists gave us grief. 
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Some days I imagine what I'll do when I look down at my arm and wonder why I did this to myself. How do I, Gran-Mama covered in ink, say so to them, the world wondering what such an old lady is doing with ink?

Instead, I will remember my youth, the way pain was made beautiful in both physicality and metaphor through ink, art, tattoo. I'll share those memories with my friends as we meet to play bridge, as we walk through the local mall, as we talk about what it was like growing up at the turn of the millennium. I'll remember the way his one turned to many so quick and how mine happened in just the same way.
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Some days I imagine what it'd be like with no ink. How I'd commemorate pain and emotion without such a permanent art. I imagine murals and graffiti and oil pastels. And I know those would never have been enduring enough. 

13 comments:

  1. What a beautiful memory of your dad, and an even more beautiful legacy to give to your little ones. Love you, Amber!

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  2. I love your tattoos. I have two smaller ones and I love them both!

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  3. Such a beautiful remembrance, such a beautiful person.

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  4. this is a great take on your and your family's tattoos. and what a great tribute to something so special you shared with your dad! loves and hugs missy.

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  5. this is so beautiful. I always love to hear how you talk about your tattoos, especially for someone that has none.

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  6. This is probably one of my favorite views on tattoos and how beautiful they can be. I got my first two as a Christmas gift to myself back in December and I love them so much. I'm so glad I got them!

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  7. Your ink and his are beautiful. And yes, I am sure one day little Thomas babies will long to be covered in ink as well. Adam and I often talk about what we'll say when kids start asking about our own ink -- like you, we will smile and support their wishes! So much love and individuality in such a small representation! Love this post!


    -Kate
    www.theflorkens.com

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  8. This is so beautifully written!!! Love this! What a special thing to share with your dad. My dad and I both have Irish-themed tatts. Although we didn't get ours together, we both cherish our Irish ancestry. xoxo

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  9. love this my darling!! can't wait to see what your next one will be...
    My friend's grandma decided that she would pay for each of her grandchildren's first tattoo but they had to go with her to get it. She has a rose bush and adds a rose to it when each child gets the first tattoo of their choosing - I can see this being you ;-)
    xo

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  10. Such a beautiful story, and your tattoos are AMAZING. I have 10 tattoos and I love them all, they're such a wonderful way to document life.

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