Eight-year-old Derek Prue Jr. has a birthmark on his torso that he doesn’t like.
“I knew he was self-conscious about it,” his dad, Derek Prue Sr. told the CBC. “I saw how he was reacting, and it made me want to do it so that he wouldn’t be the only one.”
Derek Sr. recently spent 30 hours total getting a massive tattoo: a replica of his son’s birthmark.
It was a long, painful ordeal, but the dad was happy to do it for his son so they would match. “I remember the first time coming in, laying down and then after maybe three, four hours, I was like, ‘Yeah, are we almost done?’ And Tony’s like, ‘Yeah, we’re almost done [with] the outline.'”
Tattoo artist Tony Gibbert, who owns the Juicy Quill tattoo studio in Stony Plain, Canada, told the CBC the tattoo is in a painful spot on the body. “He’s been through the wringer sitting for that,” Gibbert said. “It’s pretty painful.”
Still, Derek Sr. wanted it to look just like his son’s. The whole process took six to eight weeks to complete.
He finally revealed the tattoo just before it was finished — and Derek Jr. was in disbelief. “I was happy and I was a little confused,” Derek told the CBC. “I didn’t know he was going to do that.”
Derek Sr. surprised his son when he was swimming, which was symbolic, since Derek Jr. usually wears a shirt in the pool to cover the mark.
Gibbert said when he found out why the dad was getting the tattoo, he thought the reason was “amazing.”
“Just being able to go swimming with his dad and take off his shirt and be happy and comfortable. I’m happy I get to be part of it, in a small way I get to help with what he’s trying to do,” Gibbert said.
Derek Jr. told his mom he’ll now take his shirt off when he swims. “Whenever Daddy’s there I can take the shirt off,” he said.
For Derek Sr., that answer makes it all worth it. “Now we have the same marks for life,” he said.
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