"Ma'am, to make a decent claddagh, it's going to have to be three or four inches wide. Anything smaller will turn into a green blur within a few years. You don't want that to happen."
"We can come back another time," my husband said to me.
"No," I said, "I came to get a tattoo, I'm leaving with a tattoo." Scouring the picture-filled walls of the parlor, I spied a four-leaf clover. One leaf each for faith, hope and love, with an extra for luck. Symbolic enough to mark this day, my first birthday without my Irish-American mother.
Eight years later, on my 39th birthday, a triquetra Celtic knot was inked into my other ankle. Maiden-mother-crone, Holy Trinity, past/present/future, ancient Piscean sign. Threes are important, you see, births and wedding and death and graduations, all happening around the number 3.
And there will be a third tattoo. Just two years away before inking, I've already called upon my artistic friends to help me design it. The image must incorporate an owl, a book, a Celtic tri-spiral, and the number 51. It will be more visible, on my forearm this time, a reminder of where I've been and how far I've yet to go.