At the intersection of writing and life with the author of the Cameron Ballack mysteries

Friday, April 12, 2013

My Little Thrasher of Joy

On this day, twelve years ago, I woke, showered, dressed, gobbled down my breakfast, and began the drive to the Covenant School in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was a glorious Maundy Thursday morning and I was looking forward to that afternoon when our baseball team would take on (and beat) Fishburne Military School over in Waynesboro. But more than anything, I felt a moment of sheer anxiety. It had nothing to do with class preparation that day, nothing to do with baseball that afternoon. It had everything to do with what would go down the next morning, when my wife Christy would have our second child at University of Virginia Medical Center.

We had both seen the sonograms in January. The baby was to be a "she".

We were having a girl. More to the point, I was having a girl.

But my anxiety was due to the reality that this girl would be having me.

I am the oldest of three boys. My father was the youngest of five boys. My mother was the youngest child on her family, behind two half-brothers followed by my Uncle Bob. Dating and marriage were one thing for me regarding the opposite sex. But being a father to a little girl? It was hard for me to fathom. I barely felt competent to deal with three-year old Joshua at that time.

I was scared out of my wits. And then Lindsay Jael Herron Davis arrived the next morning at 10:13 ET and promptly got about the upside-down toboggan ride of life. Bump. Roll. Crash. It's been a lot like that. And we wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Tomorrow, Lindsay will turn twelve years old. It's been an adventure filled with every emotion and event imaginable. She has been the most wild of our three children--to be fair, the boys didn't have the muscular strength to go recklessly nuts in their younger years. She was known for swan-diving out of her highchair after lunch. She fell down the stairs of our townhouse in Charlottesville, and she smacked her head on the ceramic tile of our Florida kitchen after tripping over her two feet at Thanksgiving 2006.

She wants to join a lacrosse team--never mind she's never played the game. When playing T-Ball for the Cubs in Salisbury, NC, she got in some good hits and made even better artwork in the infield dirt.

Lindsay can draw. Oh my word, can she draw like her life depended on it. No one in the family even approaches her creative level. And she is a gifted writer, analytical and opinionated in nature. She wants to get a notebook for her birthday so she can journal about current events and write political articles. Yes, we have a future journalist on our hands.

And what makes my heart both heavy and happy at the same time is how much growing up has been forced upon Lindsay in just these twelve years. Growing up jammed in the middle between two special-needs brothers caught in the web of myotubular myopathy--one brother who survives, one who died at nineteen months--causes one to take a view of life that's ahead of the childhood curve.

Our conversations are peppered with deep, probing questions about hardship and God's place in it all. Because she's suffered a good deal, Lindsay tends to be more acutely aware of other people's difficulties. Yes, she overanalyzes things and feelings more than the average bear, but when it comes to the emotions of others, I'd rather engage a bucking bronco than a dead horse.

Her bedroom can be like her life--crazy, chaotic, and everything spilled everywhere. She is calm about some things and anxiety-ridden about others and some days I pray she discovers the balanced middle of it all. But we can't imagine life without her.

The Georgia state bird is the thrasher, an aviary tornado that settles into trees and literally thrashes around, scattering leaves and what not. In a good way, Lindsay is our little thrasher of joy. Whatever she scatters in our lives, we are never the same. And we are better for it.

Happy birthday, little thrasher.

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