Shelly Hickman

Ramblings and Whatnot

Long Time Coming


I never had a burning desire to get a tattoo. In fact, it was something I said I would never do. For one thing, I consider myself a pretty big baby and avoid physical pain at any cost. Since that time, tattoos have become much more common, but they weren’t something I gave much thought about.

When I got my first tattoo, it wasn’t planned. I was in my early thirties and a few friends were over, and somehow the subject of getting tattoos came up. I had no idea what I wanted, and before we even left the house one of my friends said, “Get Jiminy Cricket!”

I’m not sure where he got the idea of Jiminy Cricket, but I thought, “Hmm. Why not? I’ve always been a huge Disney fan, and Jiminy would be cute!” Here is a current pic of Jiminy on my ankle, and as you can see he’s looking pretty tired about now. (He is about fifteen years old.)

Anyway, when we got to the tattoo parlor, one of my closest friends was being secretive about the tattoo she was getting and I was curious what all the mystery was about. I was touched to discover she had gotten an image to memorialize my daughter, who had passed away the year before — touched, and more than a little disappointed in myself that it hadn’t occurred to me to do the same. (As I said, I hadn’t given this whole tattoo thing a lot of thought.) Since then, I flirted with the idea of adding to the tattoo I had to remember Sydney in some way, but nothing really worked, and I always had it in the back of my mind to come up with something that was appropriate. 


Fast forward to about thirteen years later and I’d still done nothing about another tattoo. My son was turning eighteen, and for his birthday he wanted a tattoo to memorialize his sister. This thing turned out to be pretty elaborate. If you look closely, you can see her name in one of the dog tags and the dates of her birth and passing in the other. I was so impressed by his, it once again started me contemplating if I should get some new ink and do the same. But what to get?

I don’t remember how it came about — I think maybe I was searching for some inspiration for remembrance tattoos — but somewhere along the way I came across the perfect image. Sydney’s favorite Disney movie was The Lion King. It is also one of my faves, and the best scene from that film is when Mufasa is speaking to Simba from the clouds and tells him, “Remember who you are.” I’ve always felt that scene had multiple layers of meaning that I won’t go into here. But anyway, this was the image I wanted, and I even visualized a way in which Sydney’s name could be subtly drawn into the design of the cub. I’d told my son about it but never moved forward, and he continued to periodically nudge me to get it done.


​My son Quinton is turning out to be quite an ink addict, and last year the older brother of one of his friends was on leave from the Navy and treated each of them to tattoos. Hence, the birth of Spidey here on his calf. Then he went on to have ink added to the original image of the cross, with clouds, a stairway to Heaven, birds, etc.

Throughout all of this, he kept giving me a hard time about how I was never going to get my Simba tattoo. But now that I had decided on the image, I didn’t know where to put it. I didn’t want it on my opposite ankle. I thought about my shoulder, but I wanted to be able to see it. Ideally I wanted it on the top of my foot, but I’d heard about how bloody painful those were to get, and I kept putting if off. (Recall my earlier reference to my avoidance of pain.)

Finally, finally I made the appointment and got my tattoo to remember Sydney, and yes, it most certainly hurt like a… well, you know. Put it this way — I implemented Lamaze breathing while getting it, and I’m not kidding. But I am so happy with it! Everything about it is perfect. It’s consistent with the Disney character theme I started, and it couldn’t be a more fitting tribute to her. And that, my friends, is the story of my long time coming tattoo. Can you see her name in the cub?

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About Me

Las Vegas native, Computer Science teacher, and writer (when the mood strikes). Author of five novels – mostly romantic comedies – available on Amazon and Audible.


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