LovePrints. Best friends. Roommates. Cousins.

LovePrints. Leaving an impact of love on another. Covering another in love.

My family. My life. My goodness.

Pardon me in advance. I am tying this while tears flow down my face. I want to honor this by doing this in one sitting and unedited. That’s how important this is.

Before I knew to ask questions about who I was or who my family was, I was left to trust my instincts and trust those people around me who I shared common likes and interests with. Some people were easily chosen. The fit was strong. The bond was deep. The love was natural.

In some neighborhoods, friends call one another “family”. Proximity in where we lived, shared life conditions, common interest in the things closest to us, and a general like of one another. “Cuz” or “brother” “sis” or “auntie”, often the names were used to notify themselves and others of their place in the priority of life, and always as a sign of love for the other.

In my case, I had a community of brothers, cousins, sisters, etc., all based on love. Love of  time spent, love of shared events, and love of where we were from and who we were with. I can roll out a list of brothers and cousins, both real and implied. I am blessed with some wonderful people in my life that I have shared great times, hard times, good times, and the best of times. Some are teammates, classmates, roommates, and life mates.

In one case, he was all of those things.

We met in elementary school, Charles Drew Elementary. We lived five streets away from each other, and immediately hit it off as friends. We ran the blacktop at free time, often found ourselves as teammates in little league after we were bused to different schools at age 9. We became teammates when I saw him walking home from baseball practice, and I asked myself why I wasn’t playing with him. The next season, I tried out for his team, and we began a 3 year run as teammates. We played football on the same teams, but basketball split us up. Even while going to different (rival) schools, we managed to stay connected. His mom, dad, and older brother would pick us up from practice some days, which led to meals at his house. Even when we reached junior and senior high school, we stayed connected. We would find ways to hang out with each other, often ending at parties at the houses of respective friends from both of our schools (sometimes ending in rivalry fights where sides had to be chosen, and we usually ended up in the middle as peace-brokers). We played against each other in baseball, which was unique in that not all people of color played baseball in high school. We even met on the football field as during a game between Wakefield and Washington-Lee. At Wakefield, he had already found his calling to serve and heal, was one of the trainers during games. I got injured on a kick return, and who came jogging out to check me out? HIM! “Oh, its just Dee, he will be okay” as he loudly laughed and jogged off the field without putting a hand on me. We went and had a soda post game and laughed about it all night. (Until one of the previously mentioned fights broke out)

Off to college, and after, we began our respective bachelors lives of dancing in clubs and attending every party within 30 miles. We decided since we spent so much time together that we might as well be roomies, so we grabbed a third musketeer and found a place that was affectionately known as the “Animal House”. We threw some ridiculous parties and believed that we had the best dance club in Northern Virginia in our living room every weekend.

We played ball together, we began our coaching careers together, and we both found love and moved on late in our 20’s. I got to stand next to him at his wedding. I moved to Charlotte to host a tv show, and at one point, he moved to Charlotte to work with me and some of my other life brothers. We had a great time in Carolina.

As my ancestry and family journey took place, an odd, wonderful thing happened. As ancestry works, it brings you all DNA relatives who have taken the test. Ancestry can also estimate how close of a relation they are, which side of the family they are on, and any shared relatives. This was vital to my investigation of who my father was. We were looking for close relatives on my father’s side.

BINGO! We got one! And thankfully, they were on Facebook. I scanned through his pictures (read FB stalk) and came across a name that I knew. A picture that I knew. It was my friends’ mom. I reached out, and thankfully, he was kind and open enough to give me information.

Weeks later, after several DNA tests, online searches, phone conversations, and snail mail, the Ancestry folks told me that my friend, the one who was a teammate, a running mate, a classmate, a party mate, a road dog, a business mate, a life mate, and forever friend, was my FIRST COUSIN.

LovePrints is leaving your loving imprint on those around you, those you care about. Loveprints is leaving someone covered in love. LovePrints is often leaving love in places that you did not even think needed it. Andre is one of the most valued and loved people in my entire existence. There is now another reason why.

My friend is a constant LovePrint in action. Almost 50-years. My father did that too.

Isn’t life funny?


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