In the 40th Trip Around the Sun, Things Turned Upside Down

When my wife, Carla, came back outside, I knew the answer before she ever spoke a word. I continued playing corn hole with my 12-year-old daughter, pretending like nothing was wrong. Everything was wrong. Everything was amazing and incredible and exciting. Everything was terrible. I was terrified and beyond belief excited. What on earth was going to happen? Was this even safe? Would this actually come to fruition? How could this be?!

Rewind three years prior, to New Year’s Eve. Scout was reading her list of goals and hopes for the year; “I want a baby brother!” “Ok. We’ll all pray that God would give us a baby boy if it’s His will,” I replied after a moment of wonder. We were still sort of holding on to some hope, secretly. We definitely hadn’t been preventing a baby. It just hadn’t happened. We’ve always believed God gives you what He wants you to have, when He wants you to have it. 

Life went on for the next three years. At some point, we chalked it up as an answered prayer that God didn’t have that us in the cards for us. That ship had sailed. We were totally OK with this. We loved our life and already had our hands full raising a pre-teen and running two businesses. Meanwhile, we’d also been displaced from our home for four months when a tree decided to take a look around our attic one afternoon. Working on the house, trying to make the most of the insurance payout had me working double time, but not on my business. My business, quite frankly, was on the ropes. 

All the while, Scout never quit praying about this. Daily. Even after we’d long forgotten about it really. We waited until we got a green light from Carla’s doctor to tell Scout and our family that we were expecting. To tell her, we purchased rubber gloves, a little gas mask (yard mask with a vent) and some other baby related item that escapes me now. We put them all in a bag and I had her open them one at a time. The following photo is about 10 seconds after she actually realized what were telling her, the rubber gloves still on.

She burst into ugly-crying-joy-tears! Her prayers had been answered. Our prayers, from a long time, that we were cool with not happening, no really, we’re good, seriously, well, ok, let’s do this, I guess, were answered. 

Fast forward a few weeks and we gathered our wits and made it to a sonogram visit to learn the sex, 12-year-old-daughter in tow, who by the way, had just learned how babies make it into the world like three weeks prior to us telling her. We found out the being within my wife was indeed not a bad burrito but was a real life baby boy. We actually named him on the way there and finalized this decision while Carla was getting blood work done or something. 

We’d just bought a new truck and it seated six, and we went to our parent’s and siblings house to show off the truck to them. We’d also gone by some friends-with-a-wee-one’s house to borrow a car seat to put in the back seat with the sonogram in it as our way of surprising our family. It was a thing of beauty. Here’s my sister, Angela, and my mom who we’d gone to pick up so she and dad could see Angela’s reaction, too. The second photograph is of Carla and her folks who were more in shock or disbelief then maybe any of us. Hard to say, we were all pretty dumbfounded.

The days grew longer, and harder and scarier and weirder. Carla had a great pregnancy outside of a condition called “lightning crotch” and the occasional passing out because homeboy was “standing on her artery.” Normal stuff.

The big day finally arrived. We went in to the hospital the night before her scheduled delivery and the next morning we had a healthy baby boy. Charlie Whitworth Carter came in to this world and I sobbed like a baby, because I’m a crier. Real bad crier. Also pictured in this mix is my one and only ever surgical procedure I’ve performed. Notice the use of two hands on the scissors. Steady Mateo. Steady. 

Lots of dear old friends came by to hold the newfangled, marvelous, beautiful, gah-gah manchild. And I cried a great deal more, not pictured.

- First published in our family blog, Postcards and Potholes 


As a personal project I decided to reach out and photograph two people I’d never met but followed on Instagram. I left the platform some time ago but have a number of friends I still keep in touch with that I met there. Pictured are Angie Toole Thompson, a local freelance copywriter and Blair Knobel, editor of TOWN magazine.

Davia’s Dance

I once went to a hear a talk by Joe McNally and he said if you wanted to make some great photographs, shoot a dancer. I tucked that pearl of wisdom in my hat many years ago and just never had the opportunity. A dancer friend of mine I made introduced me to 2018 Miss South Carolina, Davia Bunch and we spent an afternoon in the studio creating a few low key images shooting dance on digital medium format. Typically dance photographs are made at the height of a move, with the perfect form. I asked her to fall out of the forms as I loved the look just before she had to break the move to catch herself. 

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