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

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Eighteen Years

Eighteen years ago today, I was driving through the streets of Lafayette, Louisiana. My exams were dropped off safely at a colleague's house for transport to school so my students could take them on time. I was otherwise occupied. My very pregnant wife needed to get to the hospital.

Today was the day.

As we drove to Lafayette General Medical Center, I couldn't shake the weight of responsibility that hit me with all the subtlety of Donald Trump on cocaine. I was going to be a father by the end of the day.

"God, please help me. I am going to have a son and I feel so unready."

The following fifteen hours were a complete blur, although I have a vague memory of watching a Dutch soccer game on ESPN2 while my wife drifted off into a semi-drugged sleep before my parents arrived from Mississippi. More blurred moments, and then at 10:18 pm CST on December 15, 1997, Joshua Cameron Davis, all six pounds, eleven ounces of him, was born via C-section.

That's when life hit us between the eyes and never let up. Joshua was crying to get air in his lungs. He cried. Soundlessly. No noise. All he could manage was a barely audible squeak. His arms flopped from his sides like hung bratwurst in a German butcher shop. Something was unexpected.

I didn't say wrong. I said unexpected.

And that's how--by the grace of God--Christy and I went forward. We had a physically disabled son whose DNA went through a genetic wringer and caused him to have a rare neuromuscular disorder. Many things have gone on in that journey and much has changed. That little peanut of a kid now shaves, he desires to be a soccer player or sports announcer, and he loves to read James Bond novels and watch Doctor Who and Sherlock

Joshua is also a young man who had to come to grips early on about his disability. He figured out early on he could never run. He has seen what was an ability to walk gingerly disappear into a wheelchair-bound view of life.

And never, not once, do I recall him complaining. And this is a kid who nearly died after spinal surgery in Miami. He wondered why it all was happening, but he managed to take it in stride in his own way.

What am I most proud of regarding Joshua? He accepts what life has thrown at him, he doesn't complain, and he lives in hope. Perhaps we'll get to the point of a cure for X-linked myotubular myopathy, and he wants to so badly. But for now, a boy who--odds were--could have died before his first birthday is now eligible to vote. 

Joshua doesn't quit. He is our son. God is with him.

On this day, what could be better than that?

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