How We Met

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All things considering, I have a great life. I’m married to the love of my life, James. We live in Memphis and we are the new parents of Mary-Isabella and a Shih Tzu, Riley. We have a solid support system in our parents and friends. Our story started four years ago.

Looking back, I began to doubt I would ever be a wife, a mother and at the very least, a pet owner. Just five years ago, I was married to my work and emotionally drained after ending an unsuccessful attempt at reconciliation with my ex-husband.

TIme passed and like most people, I was living what little social life I had on social media. I joined an alumni ning site and Facebook. I received a FB friend request from James. He later admitted he noticed me on the ning site. While I didn’t know him personally, I accepted him as a friend because we had a lot of mutual college friends. He says (I don’t remember) he began to comment on all of my posts. He said I never commented. I think I remember commenting once or twice. Nonetheless, we finally connected on the day he declared was going to be his last post. I invited him to join me at a work event. He turned me down because he said he had to teach Sunday school the next day. I was immediately impressed that he was teaching Sunday school. we exchanged inbox messages for several weeks. During that time, he would post YouTube music videos dedicated to me. He would let me know I was on his mind. He was/is one of the most loving people I know.

June 11, 2009 – we went on our first date to Bahamas Breeze. I remember it vividly. We met there. He was already seated when I arrived. As I approached the table, he stood and pulled out my chair. I remember thinking this was such a warm and kind gesture. He was wearing the floral print shirt. I was a nervous wreck as I had never met someone from social media out on a date. I immediately ordered a cocktail to calm my nerves. He put me at ease with his wit and intellect. He presented me with a gift bag (red and white – my sorority colors). I opened the gift to find a bottle of Bear Rabbit syrup. In an earlier conversation, I mentioned I couldn’t find that particular syrup in Memphis and how much I enjoyed it. So, you know, I was impressed that he remembered.

This is how our story began …

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TeamSpraggins Love Story

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During our first date at Bahamas Breeze, I explained to James (aka Anthony) that I wasn’t dating recreationally. I felt strongly God was going to answer my prayer to be a wife and a mother. At the age of 36, I felt I had nothing to lose by being transparent. I expected him to end our date and to never hear from him again. Quite the contrary, he said he had a similar prayer of marriage and parenthood. He asked God to send him a wife.

Within days of our first date, we began dating exclusively. It was a whirlwind relationship. We both knew he had something so special. Anthony was so transparent about his past, feelings and his intentions. He shared things and past relationships that would’ve scared me ordinarily. Our past couldn’t have been more different. I felt such a sense of peace and purpose I had never experienced in my life. I clearly heard God’s call to be Anthony’s wife. Within 4 months, we were engaged.

While his family immediately embraced our relationship, my parents and my pastor (also my boss at the time) were very skeptical. As an admitted people pleaser, this was one of the few times I did what made me happy despite others’ opinions. I was so sure that I was ready to do whatever I needed to do to be with Anthony; including potentially alienating my parents and my boss. Our closest friends were very supportive. In September, we celebrated our engagement at the Cove, a quaint bar in the Broad Avenue Arts District. The Cove was also the place, Anthony and I shared a public kiss and he bared his heart. The Cove will always hold a special place in my heart.

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While my parents were skeptical, my maternal grandmother, Mary Gavin, was so warm and accepting of Anthony and our relationship. She immediately took to him. I think it was partially because he shared my grandfather's name, James. I also think it was because she could see how much he loved me. His gifts of perfume – what she affectionately called, "smell good", could have also had something to do with it. Nonetheless, they both grew to love each other.

We moved forward with our wedding plans despite my parents’ objections. It was until my mother helped to convince my father to participate in a family dinner with Anthony’s parents in Grenada that my Dad began to warm up to the idea. It also helped that Anthony extended the olive branch. Once, this happened, I felt like I fully plan and involve my parents’ in the planning. It was also important that my pastor accepted our relationship. Anthony moved his lifelong membership from Metropolitan Baptist Church to my church. We also went through pre-marital counseling with the pastor. Through those sessions, our pastor began to see Anthony’s intelligence, passion, and love for me. He gave us his blessing.

He married us Wednesday, June 16, 2010 in an intimate ceremony with a few friends and family members.