I'm so excited to share this tattoo with you. I think it is the most text commissioned by any client. Jessica -- a nurse at a labor and delivery ward -- tells the story best.
Ten summers ago, my now husband Derek and I took our first trip together to see the Dave Matthews Band play at the Gorge. "Heaven's ampitheatre," I like to call it, with immense views of plateaus and sky and Columbia River. It became a tradition for us, three days of music bliss every Labor Day weekend. We now have our son Lennox in tow, who's 2, and I like to say he's been making the trip even before he was born (in my belly the first time around). He was born into this world with Dave Matthews Band ushering him in like a theme song or dramatic score to the story of our life. And I'm pretty sure he was conceived to it ;) It's in his blood.
"One Sweet World" is a song that I came across only in the last few years, discovered at one of these shows. The violin intro to this song is so powerful. It catches my attention and draws me in even on the darkest of days. This tattoo evolved over the course of many years and shows, and over the years I've evolved into this tattoo.
As I became a mom and motherhood became me, a line from this song began to resonate with me on many levels. "So let us sleep outside tonight, lay down in our mother's arms, for here we can rest safely." It connects so many images and ideas of who I am in just a few words. I imagine laying in my mother's arms, as a child, outside in our backyard in the Oregon countryside. Looking up at the stars on a summer night, and being completely at peace. It's dreamlike. I imagine me holding my newborn son, barely the length of my forearm, and cradling him so closely all those first months, each time he nursed or needed to be close to me. I'm now working as a Nurse in Labor and Delivery, and bear witness to women becoming mothers before my eyes, and have the rare opportunity to be a part of that incredible experience every day. There is no stronger bond than a mother to her child, and no safer place to be than in that Mama Bear's arms. I imagine also one of the more literal meanings of the song, which I think is really about this planet we live upon, holding us close, keeping us grounded, with our feet solidly planted in the soil. She keeps us safe and holds us close, and feeds our soul with sunshine and dirt and water. Each day a mother holds her child, her little piece of the earth. From dust to dust. The experience of motherhood is now imprinted on my arms, where I will continue to hold my babies and the babies of other mothers.
Thank you Mara for translating these ideas to art. It is more beautiful than I could have ever dreamed.
Thank you Monica at Mo Hines Photography for spending an evening with us and for being so creative. And thank you Robert Egbert at Slave to the Needle Tattoo for putting it on my body forever, and for not messing it up.
Thank you, Jessica, for trusting me with (both!) of your inner arms, envisioning such a thoughtful tattoo, and sharing your story with us. Thank you to Robert for inking it so precisely, and to Mo for capturing the final result so well.