Tattoo Stories, Episode 4

Tattoo of wild roses on inner arm
Roses Love Sunshine

Once upon a time, there was a girl who wanted to grow up and get married and have babies. So she waited until she was old enough and found a really cool guy who she loved a lot, and when they were ready, the girl-who-was-now-a-woman got pregnant.

While she was pregnant, she heard a snippet of song* on the radio that she absolutely fell in love with. So she learned that snippet of song and tucked it away in her memory to sing for her soon to be born child.

When the child was born she was perfect in every way. (And she still is. That never changes.) She was also plagued with colic. 

So the woman-who-was-now-a-mom, wrapped her screaming daughter in a blanket, snuggled her close, and walked back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. 

And bounced up and down, up and down, up and down. 

And jiggled side to side, side to side, side to side. 

And rocked forward and backward, forward and backward, forward and backward.

And the whole time she sang, over and over, the snippet of song.

At times the mom-who-really-missed-sleeping pondered the old saying that you should be careful what you wish for. But when she gazed down into the star sprinkled universe in her daughter’s eyes, the mom-who-couldn’t-imagine-a-life-without-this-child-in-it realized that the old sayings got it wrong sometimes.

Several years later, the mom and the dad decided they wanted another child and in 9 months, when he was born, their son was perfect in every way. (And he still is. That never changes.) Also, wonder of wonders, he didn’t have colic!

But even though he didn’t need to be walked and bounced and jiggled and rocked, the woman-who-now-had-two-children gazed down into the star sprinkled universe in his eyes and wrapped him in a blanket, snuggled him close, and sang, over and over, the snippet of song.

When her children grew up, the woman still whistled the tune while she worked, but she didn’t sing the snippet of song anymore.

And then her daughter had a daughter herself.

The mom-who-was-now-a-grandma, gazed down into the star sprinkled universe in her granddaughter’s eyes, wrapped her in a blanket, snuggled her close, and started singing again.

Over and over, the same snippet of song.

And when her dying father asked for someone to sing him a bedtime song, the grandma-who-was-still-his-little-girl, tears falling from her eyes like stars dropping from the universe, wrapped her arms around him, snuggled him close, and sang the snippet of song over and over.

So now, the girl-woman-mom-grandma-who-now-has-two-grandchildren is going to start wrapping her arms around any of her loved ones who will put up with it, snuggle them close, and sing the snippet of song.

Over and over.

Because she’s learned it really isn’t about being careful what you wish for.

It’s about loving every glorious, frustrating, beautiful, complicated, perfect gift reality has given you.

Tattoo of violets on wrists
Violets Love Dew

*This love song to my family comes from an old folk song, Down In the Valley, that I heard sung by The Judd’s on Oregon Public Radio in the early 80’s.

Tattoo Stories, Episode 3

Tattered Web

Once upon a time, there was a woman who had had it up to here with questionnaires that asked what race she identified with. 

“The HUMAN race, for dog’s sake, just like every other person on this planet.”

She became so frustrated by this, that she wrote a story.

About how there used to be a web of human families with many genetic lines.

But the web tattered.



Until only one genetic strand was left.

Which can be traced waaaaaaay back to one woman.

Our greatest, great, great grandma.

Which makes us all cousins.

(Like, really. Cousins. Distant cousins, granted, but still. Because that’s what happens when you almost go EXTINCT.)

And then we managed to come back and THRIVE.

Because we learned how to work TOGETHER.

So what the h*ll is wrong with us now?

That we need to label our cousins with what “race” they are?

People from our own family?


Tattoo Stories, Episode 2

Pacific Chorus frog tattoo

Once upon a time there was a grown up woman who had missed out on playing with tadpoles when she was young. But she loved to sit by the pond in the pasture and dream of possibilities, and one day, she noticed clusters of frog eggs bobbing among the weeds.

Well, that explains why the frogs were so noisy last night,” she thought.

That night, the rain poured and poured, and the next day, when she went to sit by the pond, she noticed that many of the frog egg clusters had been washed out of the pond when it over-flowed it’s banks. 

Looking down at the eggs laying in the grass, she thought, “Well, that’s not going to work.”

So she scooped them up as best she could and carried them home where she put them in a bucket and sat it by the back door. And before she knew it, she had tadpoles.

As she sat next to her bucket pond by the back door, she thought about what it must be like to leave your cozy little egg and go out into a great, big wet world. 

“Well, that must be scary.”

After awhile, she noticed that her tadpoles couldn’t dart around very well. Their new legs were getting in the way. 

“Well, that would be pretty scary if you needed to get away from a predator,” she thought. 

Soon, she noticed tiny little froglets sitting on the leaves of the plants that grew in her bucket pond. Four legs and a tiny, tiny tail. 

And she wondered what it must be like to leave your lovely wet world and set off into a gigantic hot, dry world.

“Okay, that has to be terrifying.”

She decided she needed to know more about her little froglets, and their chances of survival, so she googled them. 

“Good grief! In one day they go from water breathers to air breathers who will drown if they can’t get out of the water AND their whole digestive system switches from vegetarian to meat eater!”

About then is when she decided that frogs were about the bravest, most badass little amphibians out there.

But it wasn’t until she realized that they had to go through all those changes to find their voices that she fell head over heels in love with them.