No Going Back (Or: Why My Ex-Husband And I Got Matching Tattoos For Christmas)

Us (and a panda) at Universal Studios yesterday.

Over the past few months, plenty of people have asked me what I’m going to do about the “K” on my foot. I’m sure plenty more have asked Kendrick what he’s going to do about the massive heart on his forearm that has the word “JORDAN” sitting smack in the middle of it.

We used to have a joke that if we ever split up, I’d make my K into a flower, and he’d just throw a 23 onto his (Michael Jordan, hahaha) and call it a day. But it would never cross my mind that he’d actually do that – first, because it’s not that funny, really, and also because he just…wouldn’t cover that up. For the same reason I’d never cover up mine.

Why would I?

…To pretend we never happened?

Both of us have always had the same attitude towards tattoos: The point isn’t to get an image that “you like enough to have on your body forever” – it’s to mark a moment. And not all of them have to be “good” moments, because it’s the sum of them – beautiful, painful, sometimes both at the same time – that make up a life. The “K” on my foot is a reminder of a time when I was young and fell madly in love, and also a symbol of a marriage that lasted for ten years, and created a family.

And there is not one thing about our family that I regret.

So for our Christmas present to each other, Kendrick and I decided to put that one in writing, as it were. Both as a reminder to ourselves, and to our children, that our situation may look a little different from other people’s, but that doesn’t make it any less special or important. It doesn’t lessen the central commitment – which is to them.

On Saturday morning I stopped into Target, and picked up some brushes and black paint. My son and I drove to a restaurant in West Hollywood, and sat down at the counter with French fries and paper, and I drew picture after picture until I drew the one that was just right. We walked over to Body Electric, where we met up with Kendrick and our daughter, and they sat down in the staircase of the tattoo parlor (totally normal, nothing to see here) and did the same.

And then we got matching tattoos.

why i got a divorce tattoo with my husbandwhy i got a divorce tattoo with my husband

the meaning of the enso symbol tattoo

Tonight, the plan had been for us to do something together in the afternoon, and then for Kendrick to head back to his Air BnB and come over tomorrow morning. But instead, I got up early and went to Trader Joe’s. I bought the ingredients for Engagement Chicken (no reading into that one, please; it’s our tradition, and what I’ve always called it) and pecan pie. A bunch of cheese and salami, and an ugly sweater cookie decorating kit.

When night falls we’ll make chicken, and sing Christmas carols, and watch The Grinch. We’ll light a fire, to keep out the cold. Kendrick will sleep in the guest room, and in the morning they’ll jump first on one parent, and then the other, and the day will begin.

Life shifts, circumstances change, but our weird, wonderful little family isn’t going anywhere. Not today, not ever.

I know this because it says so, right there on our arms.

why i got a divorce tattoo with my husband

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