Sunday, February 23, 2014

I Never Want to Live in a House Without a Honey Tree

When I was a little kid, my favorite place to be was in Grandma and Grandpa Stacey's front yard, climbing the honey tree. We called it the honey tree because it looked just like the honey tree in Winnie the Pooh - tall, without leaves, with lots of branches that were just right for climbing. It was the perfect place to play, and as we got older, it became the perfect place to sit and talk with my cousins. We would just choose a branch and sit there for hours, talking and laughing, while Grandma tooled around the flower bed. When I think back about being a little kid, that tree is the most vivid of my memories. I remember the general love of the tree, and I remember specific moments that took place in it.

Grandma Stacey was my favorite person, and I loved spending time with her. She was clever and funny and could always make me laugh. She used to pay me and Stacey to come over and wrap her Christmas presents, and she'd make us leave the room when it was time to wrap our presents. She would make us lunch, bake us cookies, and wrap up on the couch in the back room to watch movies with us. She took such good care of us.

Stacey and I drove down to the beach one weekend, and when we walked into the house, Grandma was sitting on Grandpa's lap on the living room chair, and Grandpa was brushing her hair. It is one of my favorite memories of the two of them; they were just so cute together down at the beach. I loved watching them get dressed in their nicest outfits to go into town to BiMart or to the senior center, and I loved spending time doing puzzles at the dining room table with them, listening to them both hum tunes that had no words.

My generation is one that gets tattoos. When someone passes away, we tend to find comfort in some ink in our skin that reminds us of that person. I love that. I love tattoos, whether they be mine or someone else's. I think a well done tattoo is artistic and beautiful, and I especially love a tattoo with a story behind it.

I have been planning this tattoo since Grandma and Grandpa passed away in 2009. I had no idea what I wanted, until I finally had a moment this summer that reminded me of how much I loved the honey tree. From there, I just had to wait until I was ready. And I decided this week I was ready. I went to see Travis at Tron City Tattoo, the same artist who did my cover up recently. I told him my general idea, and off he went. He asked me questions about my grandparents, about the way I remember them interacting, about the way they were. I told him I remember Grandma just always telling me how much she loved Grandpa, and how he was always humming along with something. I made my appointment and then we emailed a couple more times with images and moments I remembered about my grandparents.

Today, I got it done. Rachel and I went out to the studio, and I suffered through the most painful tattoo I've ever gotten. It. Hurt. So. BAD. But I love it. The face on the female bee is so enamored with the song the male bee is singing. These bees are in love and they're happy. They are surrounding their hive, providing it with love and with music, and with happiness.

My grandparents were the best. I loved spending time with them as a kid. I loved running away to their beach house as a teenager. I loved being with them in college. And I loved talking to them and spending time with them as an adult. I never felt anything but love, support, and encouragement from them.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have the relationship I did with their grandparents and their cousins, and I know how incredibly special this family is. We were raised together, to be nice and supportive of each other, we spend time together and enjoy each other's company. I have nothing by happy memories of growing up in the family, and I will never forget the moments I shared with my grandma and grandpa, especially the ones in the front yard, when they sat on the porch while Stacey, Thor, and I chased each other up the honey tree as fast as we could go.