The Koi and the Lotus

Tattoos have recently been made more trendy and mainstream with shows like Miami Ink and the spinoff, LA Ink. But my husband is one that had his first tattoo over ten years ago at age 18, got another in his early twenties, has been around enough to realize his first tattoo was meaningless, and a few years ago began thinking about what kind of meaningful “cover-up” he could get to do the trick.

When Ronnie was around 12, he had a favorite uncle who died, and besides his uncle’s initials that are decoratively written on his arm (2nd tattoo), he wanted to do something more to honor him. He’s always thought of him as his guardian angel, so he had many ideas in mind of a way to use that angel idea to cover up the “trendy” tribal armband that he no longer cared to display while shirtless. A few years ago at Christmas, I actually gave Ronnie some cash to use towards this new tattoo, and we were headed to Vegas for a few days thinking he might get it done there. But we visited a recommended tattoo parlor on the quieter end of The Strip, and he just wasn’t feeling it. I’m not quite sure where that money went (probably spending money on our honeymoon or something), but that tattoo never got done.

Even so, the idea of a meaningful cover-up tattoo has always been a subject of interest to Ronnie, and finally for his birthday this year, he decided to get ‘er done. Only this time, the meaning had changed…

He did a lot of research online for Japanese tattoo symbolism, and mentioned several ideas he had. One night, not long after we had returned home from Skyler’s hospital ordeal, he told me he’d decided. He wanted a koi fish with one large and one small lotus flower. The koi would represent him, and the large lotus would be me, the small would be Skyler. Here are the definitions of each, according to his research:

Koi: perserverance in adversity and strength of purpose. Because of its strength and determination to overcome obstacles, it stands for courage and the ability to attain high goals

Lotus flower: Lotus flower tattoos are also popular for people who have gone through a hard time and are now coming out of it. Like the flower they have been at the bottom in the muddy, yucky dirty bottom of the pond but have risen above this to display an object of beauty or al ife of beauty as the case might be. Thus a lotus flower tattoo or blossom can also represent a hard time in life that has been overcome.

I thought that seemed cool. He was the strength, holding us together, perservering through the hard times.

But the next night, he came to me and said he’d changed his mind. Not really on the whole design, but the placement of the symbols. He had decided the koi fish should represent Skyler, because she was the strong one that perservered through the biggest challenge, and he and I were the lotus flowers, who had come through a hard time in life. It shocked me and immediately brought tears to my eyes by the realization he had made, but he was right. We did nothing but make it through that time; she is the one that perservered and survived and showed unfathomable strength (is that a word?). Ronnie took the ideas to a talented, well-known tattoo artist in KC, and told him the story, and he sketched out a beautiful design for Ronnie’s arm. Below is the before, the outline, and the final product, which was finished last Saturday.

I don’t care if people disagree with tattoos or just aren’t “into them.” But this is such a very cool thing for us. It will forever be a reminder of the crazy, heartbreaking, challenging time we went through with Skyler and her heart problems. I’m so proud of Ronnie for putting the thought and research into this tattoo. And without further adieu, the photos –


The outline


Ronnie – I love you so much! I love what you do for us; the hard work, the humor, the love. You are Skyler’s and my man!


4 responses to “The Koi and the Lotus”

  1. WOW!!! Not only is that one great piece of art, but the meaning behind it is amazing!!! It is something Big Ron will be able to look down at when ever he needs a little boost when things get tough!! Love you guys

  2. Lori,

    I personally LOVE tattoos and I love hearing the stories behind them. I am currently waiting for summer to be over so I can get my next one. Thanks for sharing!

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