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Today is the day. The 21st anniversary of the first step on my maternal journey. It began on a grey and dreary Michigan Valentine’s Day of 1996. My best-friend/roommate Tanya and I were arguing again over whether or not I was pregnant. I insisted no. She insisted, equally as stubborn, yes I was. I had already taken a negative pregnancy test over a week ago . She insisted it was wrong. She wouldn’t let it go, so I agreed to come to her first prenatal appointment with her and get tested at her doctor’s office.

While in the waiting room, I chatted with a girl I knew from high school. Tanya went in and I waited for my name to be called. It was. I went through the usual testing process, and then returned to my seat to wait and to see if I passed or failed.

My name was called again. This time, I was led down a pale blue hall with blue-grey carpet. The office had a very warm, mahogany saturated decor. A piece of paper was laid on desk. A nice woman with a bright white coat and a badge walked away and said she would return in two minutes.

I leaned over the desk and saw that the paper was my test results and they were… (da-da-dum) POSITIVE! I was so happy that my entire body elevated and I floated two inches above everything for the rest of the afternoon. Tanya knew as soon as she saw me exactly what the results would be. Heck, she knew before we even got there what the results would be. It was an immeasurable feeling.

The first place I insisted on stopping before we went home was to the library. I checked out every pregnancy and child developmental psychology book I could loan at once. Then I went to my Aunt Bobbie’s house. She was so happy for me. She gave me priceless advice that I’ll never forget receiving and she will never forget sharing.

He was special, I explained to her. I could feel it. I knew that I was going to give birth to this amazing person. I wanted this child. I came back from a coma specifically because I told God that I needed to have this child. Then there was this baby. I was chosen to be this babies Mama. It was the happiest moment in my life.

I couldn’t wait to tell Larry! He had wanted my pregnancy as soon as he met me. I called him up to tell him that I had the best Valentine’s Day gift of all time. We were having a baby together.

“Oh,” he said, in the same way one says, “Oh,” when you tell them their shoe is untied.

“I guess I have to get another job then. I’ll call you back in a couple of days.”

And that was the end of Larry Mims role in our story.

I had an inspired existence with unimaginable potential growing within me. Its very creation was an extension of the best my body had to offer. I was responsible for the heart of this immaculate soul with exponential potential. So, instead of continuing down the self-destructive path that I had so carefully laid out for myself, I was now a vessel for pure innocence. My slate was a mess, but this relationship, this extension of me, was going to come into this world clean. Clean meant free.

That is love. That is purest love. Love that stands for, ‘I will do whatever it takes to keep your best interest a priority’. I knew without hesitation that I was in a relationship that I was willing and ready to invest my entire self into, because I knew without any uncertainty that the rewards would be infinite. My love was righteous because I knew that I was the only one capable of appreciating fully all that was profound about this person. Our bond created a purest level of an amazing love we shared. This human being loved me as its own mother. I was devoted to deserving that love from such an immaculate, and awe-inspiring human. I did not let anyone else define that love or whether or not I deserved it. It was perfect. More than that, though, I truly treasured this love.

“Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of children.”

The day I became a mother, Valentine’s Day of 1996, is when I learned the meaning of true love.