Archived Story

Letting go

Published 7:14pm Monday, June 17, 2013

I watch my dad do it.

My sister went through the same scenario.

Ditto for my baby brother.

How did they give something away each spent a lifetime of protecting with every breath in their body?

Perhaps I’ll discover their secret shortly after 5 p.m. this coming Saturday (June 22).

It’s on that date where I will walk my daughter down the aisle of Colerain Baptist Church. I’m prepared visually for the grand occasion….new suit, new shirt, new tie, new shoes and a haircut from my barber, Luther Barnes. I asked Luther did he think all eyes in the church would be on me since he did such a great job, as usual, cutting my hair. Always honest, Luther replied, “No….Those eyes will be fixed on your daughter.”

If anyone has ever seen Danielle, they would agree with Luther. She’s pretty on the outside, but more beautiful within.

While I’m ready, appearance wise, to do the “daddy thing” and escort my daughter down the aisle, I’m an emotional wreck on the inside. Again, how do you let go….place the hand of your baby into the hands of another man?

My mind keeps drifting back to the early morning hours of July 21, 1985. I was a nervous wreck that particular day as well, pacing the floor outside the maternity ward of Roanoke-Chowan Hospital. Finally, the curtain was pulled open and there she was….jet black hair, dark eyes and screaming at the top of her lungs. It was love at first sight as I laid eyes on Danielle Rae Bryant…..all seven pounds, five ounces of her.

I made a personal vow that day to protect her with all my might. As she grew, when she cried, I used whatever means necessary to make it all better. When she struggled with an educational issue, I tried my best to answer. When she had a project to complete, I pitched in and helped. When she had a female related issue, I did what every good father would do….I sent her to her mother.

Sure, there have been trials and tribulations along the course of the past 28 years, but they’re all part of growing pains….both for the child and the parents. Deborah and I survived the troublesome teenage years with Danielle, and we all came out of it as better individuals.

We went through the list of boyfriends. Some relationships were fleeting; others more serious, but I knew deep down that Danielle had yet to find her soul mate, that is until about two years ago.

I’m a strong believer that first impressions are the most lasting ones. Danielle had a few past boyfriends that I just didn’t like when I first met them. Nothing clicked and that fact became more apparent when their relationship broke off, some sooner than others.

When Brandon Harrell entered the picture, things changed. He was a young man that overcame a few bumps in the road and emerged with a fresh outlook on life. How does the song go….“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

I never saw Danielle happier than when she is with Brandon. Plus, he is a respectful, hard working young man, balancing as many as three jobs at one time. Once I met his parents, Ashley and Sheryl Harrell, I understood why Brandon is the man is he today.

So, to answer a question I posed earlier in this column – how do you place the hand of your baby into the hands of another man – the answer is through trust. I trust Brandon will accept the same vow I took on a July night 28 years ago and protect and love Danielle with every ounce of energy he has.

Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be reached at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.   

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