I had a tattoo. The word, “Had” being the correct verb. Due to my abdominal surgery, it went bye-bye.

It wasn’t a tramp stamp, people. Sorry to burst your bubble. It was the size of a nickel and was to the left of my right hip bone. I got it when I was completely sober and 32 years old. I wish there was more of a back story (Vegas, my 20s, a drunken party), but I’m rather boring. I even waited until I wrote the law that allowed tattoo parlors to be licensed in Massachusetts.

I got the tattoo for its meaning.┬áIt was of a pale yellow quarter moon and a purple star. I have always been fascinated with the cosmos. I could listen to Carl Sagan all day (he was a graduation speaker at my college.) I even took a class called Extraterrestrial Life my junior year and, as a project, created life on Mars…successfully. (Thank you very much.)

The moon was my symbol of feminine power. The star reminded me to “reach for the stars” in life with the light of the moon to guide the way. I loved that thing. It was tasteful, pretty, meaningful and powerful.

The incision area from my abdominal reconstructive surgery ran from hip bone to hip bone, so the tattoo was, at a minimum, going to be damaged from the surgery. Yet, once everything was stitched internally (umbilical hernia, ventral hernia, diastasis recti), I had excess skin, near the incision line, that the doctor removed. Hence, the loss of my beloved moon and star.

As I turn into my 40s, I realized that it was a symbol of my 30s. Perhaps, subconsciously, when I got the tattoo seven years ago, the moon and star were my hopes and dreams of my family. Now that they are here, the symbol has faded in favor of my real Moon and Star: my son and my daughter. It went from a two dimensional symbol to a three dimensional reality.

Going forward, when I write a blog post, that is how I am going to reference them. My son being the Moon and my daughter being the Star. So, while I said goodbye to the tattoo’d moon and star, I now get to embrace the real thing.


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  1. What a fab way to look at it! Love it. I waited until my daughter was born to get a tattoo and chose an homage to her with a design off of her baby clothes.

    I hope your recovery is going smoothly (I’ve been meaning to write for forever – this 8 week old has been very demanding!).

  2. That was a really lovely post, Charlene. Thanks for sharing

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