My wife, Lisa Joy Cartee, is presently about seven months pregnant. She told me about the pregnancy on Thanksgiving Day this past year in 2019. At first, I was extremely timid to start an advanced terminal degree while simultaneously having a newborn child. The next fall, I would be enrolled in a Communication PhD. program, starting the same week the baby was expected to be born. In fact, while still grateful, part of me wanted to put my hands over my ears so I could not hear the actual news. Fear saturated my heart and temporarily stole my joy on one of my favorite holidays.
Over the last several months during my wife’s pregnancy, God reminded me how precious our days in life are, especially when blessed with a little baby girl, whose name will soon be Annabelle Merci Cartee. We were shown mercy when given a second chance to fulfill some of our deepest desires and dreams, possessing a PhD. for career purposes and of course, having children with a family.
Therefore our journey begins here in the moment of a surprise unexpected. On Thanksgiving Day, I must admit that I peed a little bit in my pants when Lisa told me I would be a daddy. However the news marked the holiday with a new miracle to recall a reason why I should always be grateful for Annabelle. I seriously had no clue what I was going to do with my firstborn child. I would later be advised by a mentor that I would figure it out as I go along in life. In other words, do not freak out! Ride the wave on a surfboard, and let God steer the direction of the wave in the ocean. I figure if hundreds of parents before me can raise a kid, so can I! I am human, and that reality is not much different than all the parents who lived and shared childhood journeys before me with precious little ones.
At the end of the day, my favorite routine evening moment is to place my hand over Lisa’s belly, which has developed into quite the speed bump. I then feel the movements of my baby child. It is as if Annabelle is already giving me a high five through Lisa’s womb walls. When Daddy speaks vocally to this little girl, she moves fervently, perhaps recognizing the words of my voice. Annabelle also already seems to be in love with Earth, Wind, and Fire as I play the group’s music close to her womb. With these movements, it seems that her favorite song is “Let’s Groove Tonight,” which might just happen to be the song I played the night she was conceived. My mind settles into a peaceful pace and place when I hold and feel my family in one final swoop before going to bed. The internal disco ball comes to life, and her somersaults become an instant reminder of God’s Grace as our Eternal Father.
Yes, the story, already filled with some Motown classics, will be a good one. One cannot be afraid of the future. One can only be thankful, accepting the fate before us, remembering to live in the moment. I am glad I will get to be both a college professor and a father to Annabelle Merci. Many say there is a special connection between a father and daughter. I would probably already say, “That’s true.” I cannot wait to see this connection grow and blossom into the future blessings coming before me in my own future reality.