I’ve always wanted a tattoo.  I resisted the temptation when I was younger because the permanency scared me.  There was never anything I coveted enough to mark myself for life.

Then I had children.  I covet their smiles.  I crave their spirit.  I treasure their love. Each one of them has left a permanent tattoo on my heart.

When Gabriel was 4, and Taylor and Sydney were both 2, we moved into our new house.  We built the mudroom with three lockers, so each child would have their own space.  I purchased  wooden letters from Pottery Barn to label that space.  As I prepared to hang them, I was struck by their random order on the floor: SGT.
The abbreviation for sergeant.

I couldn’t help but dwell on the irony:  Often, I feel like a drill sergeant as I mold my children with tough love.

I am their leader.  They are my tribe.  It is my job to teach them to be confident, independent, fair, and kind.

I am their model.  They will learn to make choices for themselves based on the examples I set for them.  So they better be good ones.  As I guide them to be great, they also bring out the best in me.

That day, the idea for my tattoo was born.  It is the logo you see everywhere on my page.  It is the symbol for sergeant: an abstract representation of me, the mother, with all of my children.  I am part of them, and they are part of me.

The colors are indicative of their birth order:


  • Gabriel is yellow:  Since birth, he has been a constant source of Sunshine.
  • Taylor is green:  Her contagious spirit is as bright as her first love, Tinkerbell.
  • Sydney is blue:  She wears it just as compassionately as her heroin, Cinderella.


Who knows if I’ll ever be bold enough to go through with the ink on my skin?  I still can’t decide if that is the example I want to set for my young children and future grandchildren.

For now, I am perfectly content without it on my body. Because my heart smiles everytime I see it here.