Ten years is a long time. A whole decade. An era. Music changes, fashion, media, life itself. This year marks ten years without the single most influential woman in my life. She was my very first music teacher, my very first friend, the first person to ever teach me about God. Her music touched me from the very first moments of my being. The wisdom she imparted guides my decisions even now. Her joy at being still rings in my own laughter. She was the first person to ever love me and although I have been blessed to be loved by many, no one will ever love me like she did because no one loves like a mother does. The woman she was influenced the woman I am in countless, immeasurable ways from the way I write to the way I sing to the way I mother my own child. She was strong, beautiful, talented, funny, expressive and a great woman of faith. Ten years truly is a long time but when someone has been that strongly interwoven into the fabric of who you are, ten years is just long enough to let you finally realize that they never left. In tribute of Brenda Waters, my mother, my friend.