While discussing parenthood with a friend today, I was reminded of her struggle to have children, including multiple miscarriages before having two beautiful children, a boy and a girl.
“I’m thinking of getting a tattoo,” she told me. “Something that is representative of the children I lost, as well as the children I’m so happy to have.” She went on to tell me how she and her husband are still scarred by the losses but are grateful for the opportunity to be parents to the two children they do have.
The word that she used, “scarred,” stuck with me and got me thinking about an analogy, which I told her.
“We’re like trees,” I said. “No matter how big we grow, no matter how many rings our trunk has, and no matter how far down our roots go in to the ground, if someone etches something into our bark, it’s there forever.”
“Those are our scars,” I told her. “They’ll never go away; they’ll be with us forever.”
My friend told me that she liked the analogy and that she was considering getting her tattoo in some form of a tree even before I had mentioned my relation.
But our conversation got me thinking: What scars do I have that will never go away? Something that happened to me that will always be there? But as I thought further, I realized that we all had scars, although some had deeper ones than others. Perhaps, more importantly, I found that the most important thing was not the scars we bear, but how our perseverance, self-reflection, and continued growth made our scars less important.
After all, why would anyone focus on a minor blemish to your armor when you’ve grown so strong, have such deep roots, and such beautiful leaves?