Hey Lou Writes

The Grey Matters

Grow, Lou


For my birthday I gave myself something I have been wanting for years. Years.

I hinted at this in this post, and have had a few people ask me what my gift to myself said. Well, here you go.

I have a slight obsession with tattoos. (YES, I SAID TATTOO!) I love them. I ask people about them… I always want to know the story behind a tattoo. Sometimes the story is simply,

“Oh, this was a mistake.”

“Drunk night.”

“An ex.”

“I was bored.”

That, in and of itself, is a story. The tattoo reminds its owner of the time and place where it was painfully inked into their skin. The tattoo cannot be erased. (Unless you’re super rich and get that laser removal. But I’m talking regular folks, here.)

SO! After years of wanting a tattoo, admiring the tattoos on others and accumulating my future list of tattoo ideas, I finally got one.

And it was spur of the moment. Just like this. And this. If I get an idea, I usually go with it.

So on July 30th, the day before I turned 24, I decided to get a tattoo. When I woke up that day I had no intention, by the way. I wound up going to the tattoo parlor by myself, while those closest to me were at work or otherwise engaged, and I sat alone while the guy with the huge beard inked my arm. It hurt, but not nearly as bad as I expected.

Greg said that this year (of my age, 23) was a year of growing. I couldn’t have agreed more. It was a year when I grew as a person, “grew” some baby chicks, grew some plants, and we most certainly grew as a couple. In fact, I had no idea such changes were in store for me. 23 was one wild ride of an age. However, I was ready for it to be over. I was ready to be 24.

tattoo, birthday, marriage, growing together

And then Greg said it. He said, “Grow, Lou.” It meant so much. It was his message to me. A message that won’t ever change, because as human beings and as a married couple, we will always continue to grow. We will always change and pursue our goals and learn…. I will always be growing. I’ll be growing older, (hopefully) wiser, (hopefully) more carefree and funny… I want to continue to let life change me.tattoos, growing, marriage

My tattoo is in Greg’s handwriting. It’s really nice for a guy, isn’t it? My sisters were afraid for me when I said, “Yeah! And it’s in Greg’s handwriting!” Then they were relieved when they saw it. He has better penmanship than me.

I had it placed in a spot where I can see it every day. It’s facing me so I can read it. I can hear Greg saying, “Grow, Lou,” in the most sincere voice… having already loved each stage of my life, the good and the bad. I already know that whatever I grow up to do or be, Greg will still be telling me the same thing.

And it’s what I want to tell you all, too.

Wake up and do something spontaneous. Get a tattoo! Cut your hair! Write a book! Break up with that jerk! Tell that lady at the coffee shop how much you’ve LOVED her all these years….. do something. For goodness sake….


And don’t wait for someone else to water you. (Okay, that was cheesy.) (But true.)


Author: Melinda Haas

Melinda is a writer, blogger, artist and teacher. She lives in Wisconsin with her family.

14 thoughts on “Grow, Lou

  1. This post was really moving. In the midst of growing pains it’s always hard to be grateful but being able to grow and change and improve every day is truly a blessing.

  2. I know I don’t always comment but I always read. And I love this post especially. Like so much. You’re such an inspiring woman, and I can’t wait to see what this next year brings you. Keep shining girl :)

  3. I love it! It’s so sweet and beautiful! Seriously jealous:)

  4. One of the best things a partner in life can do is to help you grow and become all you can be…glad you have that in your life and thanks for writing so beautifully about it!

  5. Dawwww, I love you guys and miss you!! Great tattoo and coming from so much love, probably one of the best “tattoo stories”. :)

  6. It’s perfect! I love it. And the fact that it’s in Greg’s handwriting is SO COOL!!!

  7. This is so beautiful – classy, meaningful, and gorgeous.

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