When I was younger, I never imagined that I’d get a tattoo. It was honestly never something that crossed my mind. Never something I had any interest in. Several friends had them, it was just not for me.
About 8 years ago, when Dave lost his job on Wall Street, I had been a part-time preschool teacher, full time stay-at-home mom. I loved it. Dave was doing well financially and I loved being at home with the kids, being a PTA mom and volunteering in several organizations. It was the way I had imagined it would be “when I grew up.” Then, things needed to change. We knew I’d need to go back to work full time, but finding a job in the teaching profession wasn’t so easy. This was all happening around early Spring of that year.
Although I have written about my “yellow butterfly story” once before, I am repeating it today but this time with a bit more of the story added…
Around the time Dave lost his job, Drew and I walked DJ to school nearly everyday. It was Spring and a yellow butterfly began following us home. Silly sounding, of course, but nearly everyday, there was that butterfly. After a few days of it happening, I mentioned it to Dave and he just assumed, like everyone else, it was a coincidence. One particular morning, a yellow butterfly followed us for quite awhile. I started to talk to it asking it what it was trying to tell me! Of course, I got no answer, but that same morning, I went to the dry cleaners on the way to the gym. As I was leaving the dry cleaners, on the door mat was a yellow butterfly. Just laying there. Dead. It was not there when I had walked in. I thought that was odd, but continued on to the gym. I got on the treadmill with a magazine and opened it up to a two page spread of a photo of butterflies with the words, “BUTTERFLIES” written across the two pages. Flabbergasted, I took the magazine home, waved it in Dave’s face and asked him if he still thought it was a coincidence. Even he had to admit it was a bit bizarre.
For a few months, I was seeing signs of yellow butterflies nearly everyday. Not always real ones, sometimes butterfly hair clips or tee shirts with butterflies but they were always yellow. I began telling people about the sightings and my friend Maureen, who had a few tattoos, jokingly said, “It means you need to get a tattoo of a yellow butterfly.” We just laughed about that because I was the LAST person you’d imagine would have gotten a tattoo. I jokingly told her that if I ever got a job in our school district, I’d do it, knowing how hard it was to get hired here.
About a week later, I had an interview at one of the schools in town. I walked into the building and a big sign in the lobby read, “Our butterflies hatched today”. Of course I thought that could only mean it would be a positive interview and I’d get the job!! Nope. Great interview, but I did not get it. I was discouraged and still so confused about these yellow butterflies. A few days later, I had an interview at another school in town. I walked DJ to school that morning and sure enough, there was “Ole Yellow” following me home. Again, I talked to it, asking it what it was trying to tell me!!!!
I went to my interview at Tuscan School. The same school I went to for Kindergarten. As I sat on the bench outside of the principal’s office., waiting patiently for my turn, I was looking around the office, taking it all in. Then, as I looked up over the door where the interview would be taking place, over the door, bigger than I could span my arms, was an enormous yellow cellophane butterfly hanging. I could not help but smile, lose all nervousness and walk into that office filled with confidence. It was the best interview I had ever had – and sure enough, I got the job!
Now….here is the addition from the first butterfly story that I hadn’t shared before…I called Maureen and told her I don’t go back on promises. The next weekend, I went and got a very small tattoo of a yellow butterfly. It is in a discreet place and most people don’t even know that I have one. That includes my dad, who is NOT a fan of tattoos. My mom knew. I am not sure if she was happy about it or not, but she loved the story and understood why I did it.
I decided to share this story again because for my birthday, and to honor my mom on Mother’s Day, I decided that I was going to get another one. Another small one. A rubber duck. It may sound silly to some people, but my mom was, “The Duck Lady.” Anyone who knew her knows that. This isn’t something I rushed into. I have been thinking about it for months now. I had even gotten in touch with the tattoo artist in advance to talk about it. Although tattoos were not “my mom’s thing,” it is something I wanted to do so that every time I saw it, I’d smile and think of her. I really thought out this one. I knew I needed to share this story because my dad won’t be able to miss this tattoo. Where I can easily hide the butterfly one, I wanted to be able to see this one and that means, others will see it too.
So now I have two tattoos. They are small, they are tasteful. Will people judge me for it? Perhaps. There is still a stigma about tattoos. Unfortunately people are still judged by their appearance. I do not judge others who have tattoos. Maybe theirs, like mine, have a story behind them. Will I regret mine some day? I don’t know. I have had my yellow butterfly for almost eight years and I don’t regret it at all. I love the story behind it. I love remembering how it came to be and how that little yellow butterfly changed my life.
Will the rubber duck do the same? I don’t know, but it will always make me think of my mom when I see it, and when others see it and ask me about it, I can talk about her and talking about her and what a special lady she was is a tribute to her.