Moms go to great lengths to honor their children. We frame stuff—footprints, scribbled drawings, heartfelt notes—and place poorly crafted pottery on the mantel for all to see. Yet, paying homage to a child requires so much more for some.
Johanna Giselhäll Sandström is a Swedish mom with two small children. On a whim, she decided to get their names, Nova and Kevin, tattooed on her arm as a continuous reminder of their love for one another. What happened next would change her son’s life forever.
According to The Local, after meeting with a tattoo artist to discuss placement and design, Sandström agreed to get “inked.” When she arrived home later that day, however, she realized he made a permanent mistake.
“I said I wanted the names of my children tattooed on me and I gave the artist their names,” she told Blekinge Läns Tidning. “The artist drew the design and didn’t ask anything about the spelling, so I didn’t give it any more thought.”
It was only after she went home and examined it closely that Sandström discovered the biggest mistake ever: instead of "Kevin," the name "Kelvin" had been permanently inked on her arm.
“My heart stopped and I thought I was going to faint,” she said. The only thing she could think to do was cry. When that didn’t work, she went back over to the tattoo parlor to talk about her options.
After a good long laugh, the artist agreed to a refund her money. As an added bonus, he threw in the phone number of a local tattoo removal clinic who offered Sandström more bad news. It turns out removing a tattoo is far more complicated than having one placed on your arm. When she and her husband learned it would take multiple visits to remove the fresh ink, they opted to do something unexpected instead.
“We decided to rename the boy,” she said. Instead of calling him Kevin, they changed it to Kelvin.
Sandström told reporters that the name change wasn't all about the ink—"Kelvin" had begun to grow on them.
“I had never heard the name ‘Kelvin’ before," she said. "There isn’t anyone who names their kid Kelvin. So, when I thought more about it, I realized that no one else has this name. It became unique. Now, we think it is better than Kevin.”
Sandström, who recently gave birth to a third child, says her son—who was only 2 at the time—was too young at the time to be affected by the change. Even so, she's already planning to triple-check her spelling before handing over any paperwork with her third child's name on it to a tattoo artist who can’t spell.
If he thought Kevin was hard to spell, imagine what would happen to baby Freja.