The Great Gender Reveal

I thought if I had not gotten pregnant in the previous 12 months, it was unrealistic to think that I would get pregnant in the next few months. That was partially the reason why I agreed to extend the deadline. God has a sense of humor because less than a month after extending our deadline, we conceived.

Faith’s Thoughts:

#TeamBabyGirlBryant

I remember telling my single moms group years ago that after 3 unplanned pregnancies as a single mom, I wanted to experience a pregnancy where dad was excited to hear the news and excited to hold my hand all the way through the journey. After I turned 35, my hopes for another pregnancy began to dwindle. Then I met Terry Bryant, a man who wanted to be a dad so that he fully embraced my two grown sons and sixteen-year-old daughter as his own. He was just as excited to be a first-time uncle when we married in 2017. After 4 years of marriage and two miscarriages, I am thrilled to be carrying the baby of a man who is excited to be a dad and who is ecstatic to have me as his baby momma. A man who has held my hand through every excitement and disappointment of the last 4 years.

          In 2020, we decided that we would put an end date our quest to conceive a child together. That end date was January 2021. Both of our birthdays are in January and Terry turned 50 while I turned 42 this year. When January came, Terry’s excitement of his milestone year was overshadowed by the fact that he knew our self-imposed deadline loomed. He broached the subject letting me know how he wanted to extend our deadline. I thought if I had not gotten pregnant in the previous 12 months, it was unrealistic to think that I would get pregnant in the next few months. That was partially the reason why I agreed to extend the deadline. God has a sense of humor because less than a month after extending our deadline, we conceived.

          I did not want to take a pregnancy test at first. I had all the symptoms of pregnancy, but I feared that the test would start a timeline of obligatory events like calling the doctor and saying the words, “I’m pregnant”. I just wanted to delay the emotions which followed the two blue lines confirming things. I made Terry wait a few weeks before I went ahead and took a home pregnancy test. By this time, there was no doubt in my mind that I was pregnant.

          Terry is never outwardly expressive, even when he is excited. When I showed him the positive pregnancy test, there were not any tears or even a smile (imagine that), but I could tell his wheels were spinning. He was probably mapping out every detail of my pregnancy and the baby’s first year of life. I knew that Terry was ecstatic about the news and that he would hold my hand throughout every phase of our journey.

          Terry has stepped up his level of “Terry-ness” during my first trimester. I was tired a lot. After work, I would come straight home and sleep for about an hour then wake up to eat the dinner Terry made. Typically, I would wash the dinner dishes, but Terry would say, “I’ll get the dishes, you get off your feet”. Terry has given up half of his half of the bed because I cannot seem to get comfortable with just half. Most importantly, he has been there to calm me when my mind begins to race, and fear tries to claim this season of joy.

          Being pregnant at forty-two automatically makes me “high risk”. There are some extra precautions which the doctors take which means I have more doctors’ appointments than the average pregnant woman. Prenatal doctors’ appointments during a pandemic are not fun. Terry wants to be at every appointment, but right now he is only allowed in the office during sonogram visits. That does not stop Terry from coming though. He sits outside of the doctor’s office while we video chat throughout the appointment.

          Thankfully, we are past the first trimester and the 3-month period of exhaustion has passed. The morning sickness has stopped, and I feel more like myself. The second trimester brings with it different phases. My baby bump is growing (sooner than it did with the first 3 kids). I am already starting to waddle when I walk, and my breathing is labored. We are looking forward to feeling the baby move in a few weeks. We also get to find out the baby’s gender during the second trimester. Terry says he (only) wants a healthy baby. I want a baby girl! I want to fill the nursery with pink, purple and hair bows. Also, with Davion’s three boys, I think it is about time for some more girl power. Plus, I think Terry would make an awesome girl-dad!

          Girl or a boy, the baby will be named after my husband. Either Terry with a ‘Y’ or Terri with an ‘I’. Rather a girl or a boy, we thank God for this gift of life, and we will love either one.

Terry’s Thoughts:

#TeamBabyBoyBryant

Over 30 years have passed.  The moment that I have dreamt about, thought about, prayed about, fasted about, and waited for had finally manifested.  My wife is pregnant with my first child.  I had been down this road before, but never reached the point to where I began to feel comfortable about the prospects of the pregnancy going through to live birth after 9 months.  Emotionally, I was all over the place from happy and excited to concerned and apprehensive.  Yet, on the outside, I maintained the same disposition and demeanor.  No one could tell what I was going through on the inside.  No one, except one person…Fred.

            Over the past 15 months, Faith and I became close to a couple who retired early and had moved down to Florida.  During this time, I developed a relationship with Fred.  I recognized that he was slowly becoming the older brother that I never had, yet always wanted.  I had always been that one who was looked at as an older brother, but I wanted to have a brother that I could talk to who would advise me based on their experiences and not judge me on my questions.  Fred became that brother.  During one of our talks, he shared his experience of his journey to fatherhood.  It was amazing how some of the feelings that I had and was having, he had when he was younger.  As I listened to his experiences, I began to understand that I should cherish this experience and soak it all in.  As I was now 50 years old, the chances that we would attempt to have another child after this pregnancy were extremely slim, so I should enjoy the experience.

            With this now firmly placed in my mind and heart, I began to relinquish the apprehension and concern about the pregnancy and enjoy the process.  As we began to hit certain milestones of fetal development, the excitement that I had repressed began to build.  I was actually going to be a father of a child that would share half of my genetic material.  As a self-professed “nerd” who had a desire at one time to work in the medical field, I knew a lot about biology, anatomy, and physiology (those were my favorite classes in college).  As we got closer to the end of the first trimester, I could feel more and more confident and secure about sharing the news of our pregnancy. 

            Faith had come up with a brilliant idea to tie our announcement with Star Wars day (May 4th) as this would be her 4th child, but I was also a huge Star Wars fan.  Once she came up with the idea, I knew what needed to take place to make it a reality.  For 2 weeks, deliveries were arriving at the house to help make the vision a reality.   I contacted my friend, Bryant, to coordinate the photoshoot at a location that would perfectly encapsulate our journey and the anticipation of the birth of the newest member of our family.  When the day arrived for the photoshoot, it was one of great emotion and pride as we were going to announce to the world that a new member would be joining our family before the end of the year.  This was a moment that I longed for, but as a person who likes to keep their personal life personal, it was one of that would have me come outside of my comfort zone.

            Once the announcement was made, I was surprised at the response that we received.  A few people were surprised that we were embarking on this new journey, but the vast majority were positive and happy.  As the sentiments came in, I began to recognize what Fred was telling: enjoy the ride.  To that end, I began to embrace the feelings of joy even more.  Even when things would try to come to cast doubt, I would speak words of faith and lean on those prayers and words of faith from others to reinforce what I believed and know would come to pass. 

            As we come closer to the day that we learn the gender of our future member of the family, I begin to recognize the feeling of pride and joy that my father had when I was a child.  There is a picture of him holding me in full winter gear (I was about 1 year old in the picture) and the smile that my father had on his face continues to speak volumes to me.  I had always wondered what he was thinking when that picture was taken.  Now, I look forward to creating my own picture that our child will see, but I’ll be able to relay to them the feelings that I had when the picture was taken.  Will it be a challenge, of course, isn’t all parenting a challenge?  Yet, this will be one challenge that I freely take up and want to pass with flying colors.  By the strength and grace of God, I know it will be a wonderful and glorious experience.  Although I know there will be some ups and downs, as an adult, I don’t remember many of the downs, mostly the ups reside in my mind.  I plan on creating as many “ups” in our child’s mind that not only do they know that Mom and Dad love them, but God loves them more.  It’s going to be special in a few short months.

            Stay tuned for what happened the day of the gender ultrasound and my reaction to the news of either Team Terry or Team Teri.

-T

And the gender is….

Epilogue (Terry’s Thoughts): 

Our arrival to the doctor’s office, my mind began to race about the results we would receive in a few short minutes about would shape the next chapter of our lives.  We would know which chromosome made the connection: X or Y.  As we travelled up the elevator, thoughts began to race on what should I say or if I could say anything when we found out.  Externally, I was cool as the other side of the pillow (in the words of the late Stuart Scott), but internally, my emotions were raging an internal struggle with the exterior and the emotions were gaining.  Once we were directed to the sonogram room and the lights went out, it was just like being in a movie theater, rather this time I was playing a lead part in the production.  As the technician began to prepare us by showing us the little one’s heartbeat and movement, the tension rose.  “Would you PLEASE get to the part we have been waiting for!” I said in my head.  The technician then began to describe what we were seeing on the screen…the umbilical cord, the left leg, the right leg, the little leg.  “Wait, that’s not a leg, that’s…” I said in my head.  Just as the thought crossed my mind, the technician said, “It’s a boy!” 

At that moment, my entire thought pattern changed from maintaining neutrality, as I truly didn’t care if it would be a boy or girl at that point, to now knowing that it would be a boy.  The smile on my face was covered by the mask and the gleam in my eyes were masked by the darkness of the room.  It was at that moment, that I truly began to understand the sense of pride that my father had regarding me.  There would be another male coming to the Bryant household and the balance between estrogen and testosterone would begin to level…in due time.  I was thanking God that our son was moving and being active and knowing that I would play a substantial part in helping develop a relationship with God for himself in the coming years put a smile in my heart and on my face that may not come off any time soon. 

The “Chosen One” – A Star Wars Tribute

Many people have a “love/hate” relationship regarding the “Star Wars” trilogy.  I am one of those people who you would find in the “love it” category. 

 

Many people have a “love/hate” relationship regarding the “Star Wars” trilogy.  I am one of those people who you would find in the “love it” category.  The movies have themes of hope, faith, loyalty, honor, and redemption within the films.  Now, when I talk about the Star Wars trilogy, I’m talking about the original three movies: ‘A New Hope,’ ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Return of the Jedi.’  Of the three, ‘A New Hope’ is the one that I would call my favorite movie.  The reason is that it starts off with a battle where the enemy appears to have caught up to one of the protagonists who has acquired information to help in the overthrow of a totalitarian regime.  Over the course of the film, more and more people come together from seemingly different walks of life to eventually recover the information and put it to use to destroy the weapon that has already destroy many lives.  There are heroic sacrifices that help the protagonists achieve their overall goals.  The comradery that develops between the protagonists throughout the movie reinforces the bonds that can developed when people who have a common objective come together to help bring it to pass facing overwhelming odds.

Now, if this sounds like a critique of the movie or an analysis from a sociology paper on the themes within the movie, it’s not.  I have always been able to relate to different aspects of the personalities of all the main characters in the movie.  From Chewbacca’s loyalty to Han, Luke’s naïve following of Obi Wan to Princess Leia’s belief that even in the darkest hour, truth and liberty would prevail.  This can be applied to so many aspects of life.

Many of you don’t know that Faith and I decided a few years ago to try and expand our family.  Over this period, there were a few times where hope was sparked, but did not manifest in a new member of the family.  Yet each time, we resolved that until we reached our self-imposed deadline, we would continue to hope and believe that our desire would manifest in the natural.  Even in the darkest of times, we continued to hope that our dream would one day manifest.  One of the things that made this journey such a test of faith is that this year, we reached our self-imposed deadline.  Upon reaching it, we decided to extend the period for a few more months to allow God to be God.  “But God” decided to move when it appeared that hope was almost gone.

With that introduction, our new hope has become “the Chosen One” as we chose to trust God and continue to believe that His promise would eventually manifest.  I am pleased to announce that Faith and I are expecting a Jedi Padawan coming in November 2021.  I would like to thank all those who have prayed with us and for us, cried with us and gave us words of faith and hope when things appeared to be hopeless in some of the darkest times.  Over the next few months, we will be sharing our journey to parenthood together.  We hope that you will join us for this journey as we recount some of the events that led up to the biggest gift of 2021 and as we await full manifestation of our future Jedi.

We would also like to thank Bryant Hough (photograghy), Hope Johnson (stylist to Faith) and Tayra Johnson (makeup professional) for helping make our photoshoot come together like our vision.

#Blessed  #Maythefourth #maythe4th  #starwars  #starwarsday  #StarWarspregnancyannouncement  #pregnancyannouncement  #pregnancy  #pregnant  #rainbowbaby  #blacklove  #secondtimearound  #secondtimearound4love  #babyjedi  #jedibaby  #jedidad  #momof4  #Firsttimedad  #blackfathers  #42andpregnant  #pregnantover40  #expecting  #parents

The Wedding of Team M-Squared

I didn’t want to get up there and be incoherent, but that’s exactly what happened.  I started the prayer with “Thank You! Thank you, God, for this day, for this opportunity to come before you….”  I tried to say other things, but my eyes welled up with tears, my voice began to shake and my heart took over.

M-Squared Wedding

Faith’s Thoughts:

Last year was eventful. I started a new job, Terry and I celebrated 1 year of marriage, I returned to school full time, Terry unexpectedly lost his mother and my first-born son got married. Those are just some the events that happened from January-July.  I had a hard time remembering what year it was because everything was happening so fast.  I kind of lost track of time. I remember some of the moments of 2018, but the year seems like a blur.  With all the events from 2018 that occurred, one of the happiest moments was Davion’s wedding!  In the past, I prayed for that day. I had prayed for Davion’s wife and from the day that I knew I was carrying life, I prayed for Davion. I won’t go into detail in this post about how wonderful of a son Davion is.

He was a sophomore in college when I began to fervently pray about Davion’s love life and the woman who would be his wife.  My single moms small group at church had just finished studying “Fervent”, a book on prayer by Priscilla Shirer.  Whenever I asked Davion why he wasn’t dating, he said that girls didn’t like him because he was “too nice.” So, this mama started fervently praying for Davion’s love life.  One of my mentors taught me years ago to pray that my son would find a woman who would be “bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh” which is a reference to Genesis 2:23-24. I also prayed for a woman who would honor Davion and appreciate who he is.

The church’s single moms small group decided to host a prayer breakfast as culmination on our study about prayer strategies.  We planned it for the weekend of Mother’s Day 2016 and invited other single moms to attend.  It was a beautiful event.  We had a professional photographer donate family photos to the moms, prepared a delicious brunch for the moms and had wonderful gifts for everyone.  It was beautiful!  I told my kids the only thing I wanted for Mother’s Day that year was for them to help me with the event.  Davion came down from Jacksonville that weekend to help with childcare.  He first laid eyes on the woman would eventually be his wife as she was dropping her son off for childcare so that she could attend the single mom’s prayer breakfast.  She was a beautiful young woman and a great mom with a (very) charming little boy, Keylan.  Davion and Keylan bonded in the nursery during the prayer breakfast while I prayed for a wife for Davion and Keylan’s mom prayed for a husband.  He learned her name as she was picking Keylan up from childcare: Faith. Her name was Faith! Davion was smitten and intrigued.

It was very enlightening to watch Davion fall in love with Faith.  Honestly, watching Davion pursue Faith taught me a great deal about relationships.  Through observing him, I learned that when a man wants a woman, she doesn’t have to wonder about his interest. I watched Davion plan out dates and work out babysitting arrangements.  I babysat Keylan for their first date.  I was very happy that he and Faith were dating: 1) because I had prayed for a woman just like Faith; 2) Faith lived in Daytona and went to the same church as me and 3) Davion came home more often and went to church 😊. I continued to watch him grow in love for her and Keylan.  I met Faith’s mother, Iana at Faith’s graduation from cosmetology school. We exchanged numbers that night without our kids knowing and began to pray weekly for Davion and Faith’s relationship. Seven months later, Davion proposed to Faith.

Terry was very supportive throughout everything.  The couple decided on a dessert reception. I volunteered Terry and I to provide a candy bar for the reception (I’m still learning to not offer us to do things without talking to Terry first).  I started obsessing about the candy. Terry helped me to figure out my vision and ordered the items.  He was there to help set up the church and there to help tear it all down. He even ironed handkerchiefs for Iana and I in anticipation of our tears.

Davion and Faith became husband and wife on July 14, 2018. The ceremony was beautiful. I remember sitting in the rehearsal thinking, “I don’t think I’m going to make it through the ceremony without crying.”  A part of Davion’s vows were to Keylan as he promised to be his dad and honor his vows to Faith.  Davion and Faith asked me, Iana, and their premarital counselor Dina to pray over them during apart of their ceremony.  I rehearsed some things that I wanted to pray over them.  Some of the things that Iana and I had prayed over them weekly as we continued to pray after the kids were engaged, I wanted to repeat in my prayer over them in public.  I didn’t want to get up there and be incoherent, but that’s exactly what happened.  I started the prayer with “Thank You! Thank you, God, for this day, for this opportunity to come before you….”  I tried to say other things, but my eyes welled up with tears, my voice began to shake and my heart took over.  All I could say was “Thank You.  Thank you, God for allowing me to see this day.  To see my prayers over my son being manifested in his life.  Thank you for choosing me to be his mom and strengthening me to raise him.  Thank You, God for the people You placed in my life to help me raise him.  Thank you for this wonderful woman Davion was marrying and this precious little boy he loved.” All I could say was thank you.  July 14, 2018, my first born became a husband and a father. Terry and I became grandparents and “in-loves”. After that I kinda lost track of time.

Faith

 

The Big Day – Team M2

Terry’s Thoughts (T2):

The period after my mother passed was a mixture of thanksgiving, fatigue and sadness as I had to take care of my mother’s affair.  Yet, there was something that was coming that forced me to change my mindset and my attitude: the wedding of Davion and Faith.  One of the best things about being in a blended family (at least for me) is the fact that some things that people have to wait decades to experience happens in a matter of weeks or months for me.  In less than 3 months, I was going to have a daughter-in-law and a grandson.

Davion and Faith had been dating prior to me marrying Faith.  They both played an integral part in our wedding ceremony and they caught the garter and bouquet (yes, it was a setup, I admit it).  These two seemed destined to be together, yet it was a surprise that a few months after Faith and I got married that they announced that they were getting married in 2018. In my time around these two, I recognized that they not only loved each other and appreciated each other’s company, but knew that despite the differences in their backgrounds, they were going to allow God to be the head of their lives.

As the months to the wedding came closer and closer to occurring, I had to focus on one person: my wife, Faith.  Davion is her first born and her first son.  As the first born and first son of my parents, I understand the expectations from some people, but especially my mother.  The great thing about Faith and FM2 (this is the nickname that I have for Davion’s bride to differentiate the two when they are in the same room) is that they had and have a great relationship.  Yet, this was her first-born and there was something that Faith needed to do to ensure that this marriage would last: Pray.  Faith is and always has been a prayer warrior and she enlisted FM2 mom, Iana, as an ally early on in their children’s relationship.  These two would send up “timber” weekly concerning their children and their relationship.  From the time that they got serious in their dating, through the announcement of their engagement to the impending wedding, these two prayer warriors set faith in motion to ensure that their children would start and continue down the correct path.

As the wedding date got closer and closer, Faith became more and more “Momma Bear” and I needed to make sure that “Momma Bear” didn’t rip anyone’s head off if they tried to upset the wedding.  Although there were no major problems that could not be taken care of, I made it my mission to make sure that both momma bears did not rip anyone’s head off their body for making any move that threatened the success of the union.  I knew that I would need to run interference for Davion, FM2 and both moms, so I took half the week off from work so that I could be available.  Looking back, I laugh at the things that were said between the two when things would try to come up and my response would always be the same “what do I need to do to make it better.”

The day of the wedding, I was running around playing chauffeur, gopher, designer, roadie, point-man and whatever I needed to be to keep people from being incinerated by laser beam eyes due to people not doing what was asked of them.  For me, it was a labor of love that these two were putting their trust and faith in God that they have heard from Him on who would be the person that they would share the rest of their lives with.  Having spent half of my life in marital bliss, I understood the importance of knowing that the person that God placed in your life would be there for you for better or worse can have on your heart, mind and spirit.  I wanted to do what I could do in the natural what the two mothers have done in the spirit realm through their prayer: help get these two complete their journey to becoming one.

During the ceremony, they had several things that were unlike anything that I had ever seen before.  They requested that certain people (especially the two mothers) pray for them, their marriage and have certain people come and lay hands on them during the prayer.  As always, the protector in me came out and I placed myself strategically near Davion and laid hands on him and prayed within myself that he would have the strength to be the husband and father that God has called him to be. While I was praying this on the inside, Faith was praying for them like she had never prayed before.  The love for her first born and his bride and the success of marriage came out in a prayer unlike I have ever heard before.  Of all the timber that had been sent up before the wedding could not match the amount of timber that was sent up a that moment.  If a foundation for their successful marriage was laid that day, that prayer was a significant portion of it.

When the vows had been exchanged and the pronouncement of their union made, I was HAPPY!  Happy for the new couple, happy for the mothers, happy for the families and happy that no one had to be taken out because they acted stupid (you know there’s always one).  My thoughts turned to the events that I just witnessed and experienced and memories of my own wedding a little over 15 months earlier.  I was happy that I was able to play a part in ensuring that the couple had a great start to the rest of their lives together and could be a witness of their union before God and man.  Most of all, I was happy because I went from being Mr. Terry to G-Pop to my newly minted grandson!

-T

 

A Memorial to Dorothy W. Bryant…My Mom

I had just reached a point where I was no longer upset with the month of April as 35 years ago on April 15th, my father left this earth.  Now, 35 years and 8 days later, my mother joined him.  Wow…I didn’t see that coming nor expected it so soon.

Terry’s Thoughts (T2):

The past few weeks have been extremely difficult for me with the sudden passing of my mother…my mom, Dorothy W. Bryant.  The last words that I heard her say was “I Love You.” These are words that I will never hear again from her lips.  I had just reached a point where I was no longer upset with the month of April as 35 years ago on April 15th, my father left this earth.  Now, 35 years and 8 days later, my mother joined him.  Wow…I didn’t see that coming nor expected it so soon.

To know my mom was to know that she loved helping people and loved talking.  Boy, did she love talking.  When I would have to travel somewhere by vehicle by myself, I could always call her, and she would talk me either to the location or back (sometimes both) without me having to say too much.  She would ride virtual “shotgun” with me and keep me abreast of what was going on back home.  From graduations and weddings to funerals and births, mom would tell me what I needed to know to still feel a part of the community. I would appreciate this as this was her attempt to help me still feel that IF I wanted to come back, I could fit in as I never left.  From time to time, she would ask me if I was planning on coming back and my answer would always be the same: “I don’t know. If God leads me back here, I guess I will be back.”  I never thought that I would come back, but at the same time, I never ruled it out.  I just didn’t know.

One of the things that I enjoyed most about my mother is that as the oldest of all her siblings, she took it upon herself to make sure that the family always had a place to gather together during the holidays.  From Thanksgiving to Christmas, mom always wanted to have something at her house and didn’t want to be anywhere else.  She would start planning weeks before the holiday and tell me all the things that she was going to cook and bake for those that she either knew were going to come by or those that she thought might come by (and most of the time, she was right.)  Last year, I called her and told her that we were coming home for Thanksgiving and I would be doing all the cooking.  She could still bake (I had to let her do something or she wouldn’t agree to it), but I was cooking dinner.  While I was working in the kitchen, she sat back and laughed and talked and bragged about how I was cooking Thanksgiving dinner and wouldn’t let her cook and she was happy that I did it for her.  Although she tried to get family member to come visit with me, this trip was all about spending time with her.  After almost a decade of having to work during the holidays, I was finally able to spend it with her.

The loss of a parent is painful in its own right, but when one does not have any siblings to lean upon during these times, it can be extremely painful and sorrowful.  Yet, there is one thing that in spite of all our trials and tribulations, sorrows and triumphs, that I can say: my mother knew who her Lord and Savior was.  I can take comfort in my time of sorrow and pain to know that she is in the Father’s presence and singing with the choir invisible.  She is praising God in her glorified body with those of like precious faith.  Although I will miss my mom and wanted to spend more time with her on this side of the river Jordan, I cannot help but think that she is enjoying herself without the pain and cares that this world brings.  One day, I will see her again (hopefully not too soon) and we will have the ultimate family reunion.  But until that time comes, I am left with many memories to pass on to my family and to cherish in my heart.

Mom, you slipped out on me and a lot of other people.  You were ready to leave but didn’t give anyone enough time to try to talk you out of wanting to go.  You said “good bye” to those who heard it and said “I love you” to those who would feel the pain the most.  Your laugh and smile will always remain in my heart and my mind.  You will always be a part of me as I was a part of you.  Your memory will live on and your legacy will endure through those whom you touched throughout the years.

Loving you always.

Your son, Terry

 

Dorothy Bryant

Faith’s Thoughts:

Mother-in-law relationships are a tricky dynamic. The fact that I’ll be a mother-in-law in 2 months makes me more aware of what Terry’s mom, Ms. Dorothy must have been going through upon being introduced to me for the first time as the woman Terry wanted to marry. She was kind, but cautious and rightfully so. I didn’t want to force myself on her. I tried to let things develop organically. Ultimately, a mom wants a woman who loves and honors her son and I was sure that, over time, she’d see that. I assumed that we’d have (more) time.

This year in January, when Terry turned a year older, I felt a strong urge to write his mother a thank you note. I tried to talk myself out of it a few times, thinking I should wait until Mother’s Day to send her a note. I’m so glad I did finally send it off a few days after Terry’s birthday. I started off telling her how I’m sure it must be weird to be receiving a greeting from me when it was Terry’s birthday, not hers. I told her, that as a mom, I know how much work and dedication goes into raising a man/child. I thanked her for raising such a wonderful and gentle man. I told her how much I appreciate her persistence in making sure that his lessons in chivalry were embedded into his brain. In response, I received a card from her, thanking me for my letter. She expressed how much it moved her and how she read it several times and it comforted her.

I’m guessing Ms. Dorothy’s love language was words of affirmation. She always sent cards to people she loved for special occupations and she had a knack for picking out the perfect card. The last card we received from her was an Anniversary card in March. When we called to thank her, I commented on how perfect it was! She revealed that she had picked it out shortly after our wedding the year before. When I glance over at that card now, it means so much, yet it reminds me that I’ll never receive a card from her again.

On April 24th, when we finally came to terms with the fact that Ms. Dorothy had passed away suddenly, my first thought was “I’m so glad we got married when we did and she was able to see Terry happy.”  My second was, “I was so glad that I sent her the letter and expressed to her how much I value her only child.”  We packed quick and drove to South Carolina. As we walked in the house, I looked around and my brain flooded with thoughts. Ms. Dorothy was a great host. The beds to the guest rooms were made and the rooms were cleaned and decorated with her touch of love. She had all types of stationary and cards she kept on hand to send to people for special occasions. She was so thoughtful and it showed in every corner of her home. Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Ms. Dorothy made people feel loved, important, and comfortable and she has inspired me to do the same. I never told Terry about the letter I sent to his mom when I sent it. We didn’t talk about it until this week when he let me know that in going through his mom’s important documents, he found the letter I wrote to her.  Had I waited until Mother’s Day to honor her, it would have been too late. Tell those you love that you do. Do it often; say it in numerous ways. Make those around you feel important, comfortable, and loved.

Faith