She Is Braver Than Me
It was Labor Day weekend 1990 and I was a uniformed police officer in Virginia Beach. We were a year removed from the riots that had made national news the year before. Every cop in the city was a little on edge. Rodney King had just occurred and so had the Laborfest Riots so people were quicker than ever to give a cop a hard time. We were all focused on the beachfront. For the most part if you wanted to commit a crime two miles off the beach you stood a good chance at getting away with it. We got a call for huge party in Hilltop. Someone was throwing a loud party with a stage and a band on a piece of property attached to the strip mall. There were a ton of people present. We had to break up the party and in the process a drunk through a bottle of beer at a cop striking him in the head. We went into a foot pursuit with the person and chased them down a couple hundred yards away in an empty parking lot in front of a K-Mart. The assailant was taken to the ground but never struck by hand or blunt instrument. There were maybe five of as there. Before we knew it we were surrounded by well over a hundred drunks from the party screaming and threatening us. I will not pretend I was not a little concerned for my safety. I remember screaming “Stay back!!” as spit lathered on my lips. I had brought my side handle baton to a ready position as the crowd seemed to close around us protesting the arrest. Other officers were screaming for a car to get the cuffed assailant in. A police helicopter hovered above us. I would later learn that the pilot was considering landing his bird near to disperse the crowd because he could see them closing in. Finally two squad cars flew in and we all jumped in the car with our assailant and got away. Brave huh? A total bad ass I was? NO!
Somewhere around 2005 I found myself in a fire academy and we were climbing through air-conditioning ducts blindfolded. I panicked when I got stuck. I did not know I was claustrophobic. They said they thought I just blacked out because my air tank emptied. I don’t know but I do know that in my mind if something might prevent me from helping someone I should not do that job. I did not tackle the close quarters test again and resigned from the academy a crest fallen coward. I had bad dreams for weeks because I was so disappointed in myself. I could face down a mob but not closed in walls in the dark. Real brave!!!
My daughter is three and quickly approaching four. She is truly brave. I admire her ability to do things even though they were not working out in her interest. We were recently in Massanutten swimming in a pool. She does not know how to swim but wanted to walk unassisted in the shallow end. I told her she could but to not jump around because she would go under water. Like most kids she did exactly what I asked her not to and she was under water. I only saw panicked eyes looking up at me under the water. I grabbed her and quickly got her poolside. Being a former cop pays off because in stressful situations I still slow down and stay calm but in my head I was freaking out. She was okay and I took her back to the baby pool. Not five minutes had passed and she wanted back in the big pool. She truly could have just died and she was completely scared a few minutes previous but she would not be deterred. She went back in that pool and said, “Get the fuck out of here fear!”. Okay she did not say that literally but you get my drift. That same weekend we fell down the side of a steep hill and banged ourselves up. She immediately wanted to show me she could get down the hill safely and climbed back up so she could prove her point by climbing back down alone. My daughter refuses to be denied and I love that about her. She is hard headed like me but she pushes past her fears. She amazes me but I should not be surprised.
When my wife was pregnant she was on bed rest because she had a sub-choritic bleed. It was so big you could see it on ultra sounds. The bleed could have easily caused a miscarriage of my daughter at any point in the pregnancy. I have an ultra sound where my daughter was poking at the bleed. In the image she is pointing at it as if to say, “I will kick your ass if you even dream of messing with me.” My wife actually looked at her belly telling our unborn daughter to stop poking it. My daughter has fear but she also has resolve and she is braver than I will ever be. I am inspired by her. I should not be surprised by this because she is her Mommies baby. I can be as brave a man as I like but I will always pale in comparison next my baby.