The Story Behind My Tattoo

Well, this Father of Five just joined the “inked” club.  Yes, you heard that right.  I got my first tattoo last week, and here is the story how it came to fruition. 



Approximately seven years ago, #2 of 5 began “informing” us of his intention to get a tattoo when he turned 18 years old.  He was quite insistent that now that he was “of age” he would be doing this with our without our blessing.  He was so insistent that this takes place that neither The Mother of Five nor I were going to even try to stop it.  So much so that we asked ourselves why not get on board – and maybe have a little (dare I hope) influence on his decision of content and placement.  His plans were to actually get the tattoo on his birthday, so The Mother of Five and I eventually decided that this tattoo would be our birthday gift to him.

Shortly before his birthday we made a few phone calls.  (Who knew you needed to make appointments for tattoos?!?!)  Luckily, we found a local tattoo parlor that had walk-in availability.  The day arrived and we brought #2 of 5 to the shop where he explained what he wanted.  About an hour later he was proudly displaying his first tattoo.

For the record, this was his FIRST tattoo, and has since expressed that he like to make some changes – in the form of a cover up tattoo he has planned. 
I am told he is planning a much bigger “back piece”.  

That’s when it all started.


The kids all started asking me when he was going to get my first tattoo.  To appease the masses I told them that I would get a tattoo for my 50th birthday.  Heck, fifty was far enough off, and since I had no real intention of getting a tattoo I fully expected (much like when I tell them to clean up their room, unload the dishwasher, or complete any one of the myriad of chores I ask them to complete from time to time) the kiddos would soon forget. 

But, they didn’t.

Over the next several years, the kids would periodically inquire (in an attempt to remind me?) if I figured out what my tattoo was going to be yet.  I’d think about it.  I would have fun with the kiddos talking about what I “could” do, and hear what they thought I should do.  As time went on the whole idea started appealing to me a little bit more and more.  But to be honest, I’d have to say I was having serious doubts that I would ever really go through with it.

A couple of more years go by, and #3 of 5 turned 18.  I am still getting the occasional questions about MY tattoo idea(s), but no mention of him wanting a tattoo.

Over the next four years I slowly march towards the big “50” and I continue to get “reminded” by the kids about my pledge to get a tattoo for my 50th birthday.  When that magical day finally arrived, I was bombarded with reminders of my pledge.  I attempted to postpone the whole thing by saying I “just turned” fifty and that I "technically" had a whole year of being 50 years old. 

They bought it, sort of…

Then, the time came that #4 of 5 turned 18.  She, like her brother, came to us and told us that she had also planned to get a tattoo.  The Mother of Five and I discussed the matter, and decided we would take the same course of action we took with #2 of 5.  But with #4 of 5, the timing was really bad.  She was heavily involved in sports, was already accepted to college, her senior year was winding down, and she was busy planing, organizing, and actually startting college three hours from home.  This interfered with her plans, and we never got her a tattoo for her birthday.

Three months after school started, we had a TRAGIC LOSS in our family.  #4 of 5’s beloved cat Mimi passed away.  That’s when she decided to commit to her tattoo idea.  She was planning on a "kitty tattoo", but now with the passing of her cat, she modified her idea just a bit and went with a  “memorial tattoo” idea instead.  The Mother of Five and I told her we would give her tattoo as a Christmas gift. 

This time around, I knew better than to think I would be able to “walk in” some place for a tattoo.  Given her school breaks, and her availability when she was home – I knew I would have to pre-schedule a session for her.

I started doing some research which as it turned out, my research turned out to be pretty easy.  Since his first tattoo, #2 of 5 had gone out and gotten himself another tattoo.  His second design was a full upper arm piece - and much more elaborate than his original "birthday" tattoo.  In fact - this tattoo was a "two session" tattoo.   The first photo in the series was the first session.  The 2nd and 3rd photo shows the extended version of the tattoo after his second session (with added trees).  He mentioned how happy he was with the shop, and the work done.  Honestly - I really liked this tattoo, and how it looked.  The shop was local - and they had very positive reviews.           


But before committing to any shop, I wanted to actually see it in-person.  I found a niche of time on my way to work one day, so I left for work a little early and stopped into INKHEART TATTOO.  I walked in (admittedly feeling a little intimidated) and told the staff I was there to check out the shop, explaining what #4 of 5 was looking for in a tattoo.  We discussed some options. 

Satisfied with how #2 of 5's second tattoo turned out, the on-line reviews, and how friendly and helpful the staff was in-person -- I decided to schedule my #4 of 5's tattoo.

That's when it happened…  

Almost instinctually I asked…  “So, I have a question for you.  What would the possibility be of scheduling a back to back father / daughter tattoo session?”  The reception asked what I meant, and I briefly explained the story you just finished reading.  I explained my tattoo idea to her, and told her that if I didn’t do this now, I probability never would.  She said she thought it was a great idea, and had the perfect artist in mind.  She called Adam Petersen up to meet with me.  We talked for a few minutes about a couple ideas of what we were looking to do, I checked out some of his artwork, and we scheduled a date.  

When the day finally arrived we were both pretty excited (well, I know I was).  The Mother of Five, #4 of 5, #5 of 5, and myself all stopped for a quick bite to eat just down the road from the shop before heading in.  When we finally arrived at the shop, we met with Adam.  He showed us his designs.  #4 of 5 made one minor change to her initial drawing, but I absolutely LOVED what Adam had come up with for my tattoo!  Now, I was really getting excited! 

Within a few minutes Adam had #4 of 5 in his chair, and was explaining the process and what to expect from the process to her.  A few minutes later needle met skin.


#4 of 5 was a trooper.  She did not complain at all.  She sat very still, and allowed Adam to do his thing.  In no time at all he completed the tattoo.  She was delighted, and The Mother of Five and I were both very happy with the results.  Her tattoo surpassed what we expected.  It is the perfect “memorial” tattoo for Mimi and Adam did a fantastic job delivering it!  (Happy Birthday Sweetie!)


The time had come.  

After years of being asked, reminded, and even teased a little bit (I lost track of how many times I heard one of the kids say “Meh, I don’t believe he will actually do it”) it was time.  Talk was cheap, it was time to put up, or shut up.  Speak now or forever hold your peace.  Go big or go home. 

So, I hopped up in the chair, and let Adam do what he does best.

About half way through my two hour tattoo, the girls all left to do some shopping.  Throughout the tattooing I did my best to NOT look down at the work being done.  I really wanted to see it complete.  While Adam was working, a couple of other artists from the shop came over to watch him work.  We even had another client come over to watch after her tattoo was finished.  Everyone kept saying what a great looking tattoo it was.

About ten minutes before the work was complete, my head started feeling a little heavy and woozy.  (I was warned this may happen.)  Adam stopped to give me a little break, and while he did I may have “drifted off” a bit.  The staff at the shop brought me a little water and some hard candy – and before I knew it – I was ready to start up again. Approximately fifteen minutes later, I was asked to check out the tattoo in the mirror.


I was delighted!  I gave Adam a general idea of what I was looking for, that I wanted it black & white instead of color, and that I wanted it on my left arm.  From there, I gave him much of the artistic license.  I let him draw his own version of my idea.  I let him select what size he thought looked best on my arm (he still asked me for input and if I was ok with what he thought was best).  In general, I let him do what he does best.  The resulting tattoo exceeded my expectations – and I couldn’t be more delighted with the results!      

So, there it is folks. 
My tattoo, and the story of how I ended up with this (my first) tattoo at the ripe old age of fifty. 



(If you stumbled upon this blogpost due to a search for information about InkHeart Tattoo in Chaska or about Adam Petersen the tattoo artist and you have any questions about either – be sure to click on the email link on the right sidebar.  I’d be happy to answer what I can.  For the record, this is an unsolicited endorsement.  I did not receive any compensation for my work here on The Life of a Father of Five.  This is just a reflection on my experiences.  My endorsement is totally voluntary and based on the positive experience I had with both.)    

A Heavenly Birthday

I have been using some "down time" lately, and working on, updating, and filling in some of the blanks and gaps I have in my ancestry research. It was while working on some research last night, I was reminded that today would have been my Pépère's 112th birthday.

For those who have not been lingering on The Life of a Father of Five very long, you may not know the story of the nick-names we used for our grandparents.

 We called our maternal grandparents Mémère and Pépère.

These are French / French-Canadian affectionate names for Grandmother and Grandfather. Their first grandchildren were my cousins Janice and Cindy. They live in northern Maine right on the Canadian Border where many people (including my Uncle's wife, and their mother) spoke a version of French Canadian as well as English.  Their children (my cousins) "J" and "C" started calling our grandparents Mémère and Pépère before I was born, and (at least for my sister and I) those affectionate terms seem to have stuck.  We used them throughout my grandparents lives.  I still refer to them by these terms more than 37 years after their passing.

Having lost my paternal grandfather at the age of five, my "Pep" (a shortened version of  Pépère) and I became very close.


In the photo to the right, is my Uncle "G" in the Navy Uniform, Pep in his University of Minnesota Police Officer's Class A Uniform, and my Uncle "D" in the Air Force uniform.

It was Uncle D who eventually moved to Maine, and who's kids started the somewhat unique nick-naming of my grandparents. (Well, unique to the Midwest were we don't see a lot of French Canadian culture.)





Now that I am thinking about Pep, and seeing as it is his birthday - I want to give you a shout-out!  HAPPY 112th BIRTHDAY PEP!!  Thank you for all the years we had together here, and thank you for all the years you have looked out for me since.  I have never gone more than a few days without feeling your presence one way or another.

HAPPY 112th BIRTHDAY PEP!!
You have been, and will forever remain in my heart!!




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