What’s this Love Tattoo All About Anyway?


So last week I decided that I wanted to finally pull the trigger and get a tattoo that I have wanted for about 3 years…it’s not that I even wanted it, as much as I just visualized it there, on the inside of my right wrist.

Since getting it people have asked me what the story is behind it…and, well, it is so many stories all wrapped into one, that I have had a hard time really making sense of it anywhere other than my head…

But just trying to figure out a way to explain why I would get a tattoo of the word LOVE on the inside of my wrist, in my sister Adriane’s handwriting, has reaffirmed and reminded me of why I wanted it in the first place.

I am sure most of you, (despite religious affiliation or belief) are familiar with Corinthians  13: 1-13  There are a number of variances in translation, the message is the same in all of them and I wholeheartedly believe in everything that this passage says, which is essentially – without love – nothing else matters.  (I posted it below in case you need a refresher)

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes,what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

In my opinion, it is one of the greatest things ever written.

I appreciated it long before I was pregnant with Ellie…but I didn’t feel it, I didn’t fully understand it, until I got pregnant, and placed that first phone call to my sister Adriane, to tell her the news.

She never, ever, even for one second, faltered in her support of me, regardless of what decision I made.  She never judged me for being careless.  She never pointed out how my chronic poor taste in men would very likely mean I would be raising a child without a father…nope.

Instead, she said, “Cara, I have no idea how this is going to work out, but I do know that everything is going to be okay.  I promise.”

She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.  When I felt like I had lost all hope, she loved me, unconditionally.  And reminded me that my parents did too, as did the friends that mattered.  She gave me the courage I needed to start building the support system that is ever present, and helps me get out of bed with a smile on my face most every day.  She set those wheels in motion, and if she didn’t respond the way she did when I first called her with the news, I am not sure if I would have been able to find the strength I needed to do what I am doing.

When I was at what I think was probably rock bottom…btw…I frequently joke with my friends that we can’t be fooled into thinking rock bottom is one thud, and then you bounce back up to something other than rock bottom…no, no, no…you can roll and bump around on the bottom for a while…

Anyway…about a week after finding out I was pregnant, the numbness started to wear off and the magnitude of the situation began to sink in…and I was so upset that I was physically in pain…and I said out loud to the universe, “Please, please, please, don’t make me do this on my own.  Please don’t make me go through this alone.”

And the next day when I had the energy to look at my phone, I saw that had 6 missed calls from my sister, Adriane.  When I called her back she said, “Um…Cara…I am pregnant too…we are going to have babies together!!!”

And I actually laughed, a real laugh, for the first time in days…and for a brief moment, my heart didn’t hurt as much.

But the tattoo doesn’t only remind me of her love…it reminds me of the reaction and love my parents demonstrated when I told them…and my friend Shannon finding a way, despite post 9/11 security, to meet me at my gate when I landed in Los Angeles to come up with a new game plan for life…and how my brother-in-law offered to let me and the baby move in with he and my sister…and how my other two sister’s were more excited than anything else…and how my Dad’s Mom said she wants the chance to meet as many of her great grandchildren as possible while she is still here on this earth…and how my mom’s Mom, who happens to be very religious, was so giddy when she came to one of my ultrasound appointments…and how supportive my aunts and uncles and cousins all were…and how when I told a close friend and coworker (using blackberry instant messenger 5 minutes before our show went on the air and asking for details on the company’s maternity leave policy) she grabbed me after the show, pulled me into a dressing room, shut the door and got tears in her eyes while yell whispering, “We are having a baby!”…and it reminds me of when I told my longtime friend from high school via text message who has a family of her own and is an OBGyn physician assistant – she cleared her schedule the following day to come have lunch with me and to listen to me talk in circles…and it also reminds me the long list of friends that came to doctor’s appointments with me, rushed to the hospital when I was having pre-term contractions – all dealing with seeing MUCH more of me than they had ever wanted to…and my Mom rubbing my hand as they started the c-section and then hearing her shout, “Oh my god!  She’s a big one!  Car…she’s perfect, she’s perfect, she’s perfect” with more joy in her voice than I have ever heard in my life…and my Dad holding Ellie after she was born saying, “She’s perfect…she’s perfect…oh she’s perfect…” and my sister Mallory holding a bucket in front of my face and a pillow over my c-section incision while I puked violently from the pain meds in the hospital…and my parent’s and sister Jackie letting me move back into their home for 6 weeks…and then supporting my decision to come back to my home in New York City to work out the details of our life here…

Yes…one simple word…four little letters strung together, remind me of all of that, and so much more.

(Cool side note: the tattoo was done by my cousin’s husband…and gave us great reason to reconnect after years of being too busy to do so…)