The idea started at a Ruby’s Rainbow retreat in Austin, Texas. A group of about 20 moms of kids with Down syndrome got together to meet in person. Among those moms was Mica May, a designer.
They spent the day connecting, sharing stories, giving advice and encouraging each other. “We were hanging out. There was so much excitement and empowerment in finding each other and now meeting in real life,” May told The Mighty. “It was so life-giving.”
The group was discussing the “fierce love” they felt for each other when someone brought up the idea of getting matching tattoos to commemorate their friendship. May chimed in and shared her vision. She told them of a recurring dream in which three arrows shot out of her arm, she was unsure of its meaning.
The women pointed out scripture verses and the more obvious reference of three for Trisomy 21. “They were crying and excited,” May said. So she took a Sharpie and began drawing tattoos on everyone to get an idea of what they would look like.
Ultimately, they settled on a design of three simple arrows in a row. “The 3 arrows symbolize the three 21st chromosomes and how we rise up and move forward,” May wrote in a post on Instagram. “We fly the highest after we have been pulled back and stretched, sometimes even more we think we can bear.”
Unable to find a tattoo artist who could accommodate such a large group, the moms flew back to their respective homes, bringing with them the desire get the symbol of connection and unity they created at the retreat.
May and a group of seven other moms were the first ones to get tattooed.