…and We Ended Up at a Tattoo Parlour

Passport to Adventure graduation

Dear Emma Vance,

This is the story of how your Uncle Tim got a tattoo. Do NOT do this unless you too are over 30, have been thinking about your dream tattoo for several years, and have your father and I with you. Got it?


The night started off so typical and mundane with a normal Saturday evening dinner at a crowded restaurant. Somewhere along the way things got way off course–and we ended up at a tattoo parlour…

Something must be wrong with me because all my best friends end up moving away. (Or, perhaps it’s just that I gravitate toward smart, successful, desirable people who inevitably end up being recruited to work for fabulous jobs in fabulous cities far, far away…) When my best friend since high school told me that after jumping around Georgia for the last few years she and her husband (best friend, guilty by association) were taking an amazing opportunity to move to South Florida, I was so happy for them. Then sad for myself. Then happy for them. Then sad for myself. (That went on for a while, but you get the picture.)

I had visions of Scotty and Tim’s daughter, Brooklyn, and E.V. growing up together, going to college together, sharing crazy adventures and mission trips and secrets together, but as of May 15th, the girls will have to settle for being pen pals. As for me and Scotty? No tears. No tears. No tears. I see much texting and Instagraming in our future–as well as many trips to the beach to visit the Carleys in Florida.

Since it’s their last weekend in Georgia, we planned an amazing dinner downtown to celebrate their new adventure. Too bad Scotty got MONO, meaning we ditched the trendy downtown restaurant and opted for a suburban classic, J. Alexander’s. (In fact, we almost ditched the whole night because she felt so crummy, but props to her for rallying! However, she may have regretted the decision at about 10 p.m. last night, post-tattooing.) It was a great meal, a great conversation, a great way to cap off their life in the peach state. And then, right toward the end of dinner the conversation turned toward tattoos, which it often does when the four of us are together. Ryan has a tattoo on his forearm and has been planning on finishing a sleeve for a while now, and Tim has always dreamed out loud as to what he’d like to get “one day.” Perhaps it was the energy of the crowded restaurant, the excitement of the chance to start over in a city where no one knows you, the desire to remember our “final” night together–or perhaps it was just the company of good friends that inspired it, but last night Tim decided that “one day” was TODAY.

Once he had said it out loud, the night was set in motion. We settled the bill, started calling tattoo parlours in the area (note to self: tattoo places in suburbia close way early by tattoo community standards), and then headed into Atlanta before Tim could chicken out. Half an hour later we pulled up to Timeless Tattoos. (Which, in its own classy way happens to be next to an adult-type shop, which Ryan thought was hilarious to park my distinct Durango in front of. :/) He’d been set on getting “abide” on his wrist for a while, and quickly decided on a font. There were no other crazies in the shop with us, so he was seated in a chair immediately. He was tough (but did calmly, forcedly admit, “Oh man, that hurts…”) and maybe ten minutes later he had ink! The artist did a great job, and afterwards I think the adrenaline hit everyone. HE DID IT! I’m so stinkin’ proud that he actually went through with it, although this morning it did feel a little bit like a dream–the kind where I’d call up Scotty and say, “I had this weird dream last night where we all ate Mexico City cheese dip and then Tim got a tattoo…” I’m pretty sure Tim probably woke up thinking the same thing, although his aching wrist quickly reminded him that he actually did it.

It’s hard as a married couple to make other couple friends. There are so many factors at play, but the biggest hurdle is finding a couple who BOTH of you like equally and separately. Tim and Scotty are one of those rare couples for us, where Ryan and Tim could maintain their own friendship as easily as Scotty and I could. I got lucky that Scotty picked such a great guy to marry (thanks for that!), and although I’m sad they’re going to live so far away, I’m thankful for the years we had living in Georgia together. And, let’s be honest, this isn’t the end. We’ll be friends forever. Well, at least as long as they promise not to raise Caleb and Brooklyn as Gator fans… :)

I NEVER thought we’d end up here.

He’s going to do it, folks!

Thanks for the lollipop, Timeless Tattoo, because, yes, that hurt as much as getting a cavity drilled at the dentist.

Mono-appropriate goodbye elbow hug!

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