Column: Writing on the Wall

Pretty in ink

My 60th birthday mantra

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I’ve got a pretty new ankle bracelet. It depicts my four children, with two blue hearts and two pink hearts representing two boys and two girls, and two smaller, dangling blue hearts for my grandsons. It’s a rope design, reminiscent of my teenage years when we all wore brown suede and color beads and drank our Mateus wine out of sheepskin flasks. Ah, flashbacks!

And because I’m known for losing ankle bracelets — among other pieces of jewelry, in fact, this one is permanent — it’s here to stay.

Yes, I’ve happily joined the elite club of those who’ve been inked. I got my first tattoo in celebration of my 60th birthday, which falls just a week before Christmas. I have made my statement: 60 is the new “me.” And the new me has a tattoo.

I put a lot of thought into what I wanted it to convey, and I have been planning it for a while. The timing seemed right — a mildly rebellious thing to do, kinda cool and something permanent in a year that proven to me that permanent doesn’t necessarily mean forever.

But this new work of art is forever. And I’m sure whatever was going to sag or shift on my body has already done so, especially around my ankles. At least I hope so.

Of course I’m now the “cool” grandma, and I get a kick out of the fact that I got tattooed before three of my four grown children did (If my son’s blue eyes don’t show his Irish heritage, his body art certainly does.)

My daughter designed it, my youngest son held my hand while it was being done (he said he didn’t know I even knew some of those choices words that came out of my mouth when I was being tattooed — and honestly, neither did I.)

Having four natural childbirths has always been my claim to the pain fame — and my body certainly shifted and morphed after that — but having someone inject ink with a needle around ones ankle ranks right up there on the “ouch” scale.

As many of you know, it’s been a difficult year for me. A widow at age 59, I’ve yet again had to start my life over — or rather continue on, with the love and support of my beautiful family, my loving friends and whoever put their hand on my shoulder, gave me a hug, or sent me a kind message.

But I needed something of my own ­ — something that showed that although I am still a mom and a grandma, I am also a vibrant woman who is gradually moving on.

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