My dad started losing his hair in his early thirties. My mom’s hair started turning gray in her early thirties. They both tell me it was my fault.
People look at me now and can’t believe that I was ever a problem child. I was never officially diagnosed, but I’m pretty sure I had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). My mom once took me to the doctor to be checked out because she wondered if it was natural for a child to be so active.
These are a few of the ‘Crystal’ stories that the family tells when we’re sitting around the dinner table.
When I was just starting to walk, we were visiting my grandmother. The women were in the kitchen preparing a meal. Before they knew what happened, I had toddled through the kitchen, swiped a butcher knife off the table, and high-tailed it out the back door. Since I was still unsteady on my feet, mom was terrified that I would fall and impale myself on that knife. She knew that chasing me would only make me run faster and increase the chance of my demise, so she tried to act as if she wasn’t chasing me. After pursuing me around the yard, she managed to catch me and retrieve the knife.
I was still a toddler when we went for an outing. Mom got me out of the car and turned around to get her purse. When she closed the car door, I was already running up the middle of the road. A car came over the hill, and Mom must have lost a few years off her life. Fortunately, the driver saw me and had time to stop safely. Mom says I continued walking up to the car and patted my hand on the bumper as if to say, “I’m not scared of you. Take that!”
Mark Lowry says that he was the church brat. I was the church Houdini. I kept escaping from the church nursery. The pastor would be in the middle of the sermon, when the back door of the sanctuary would creak open as if by magic (I was too short to be seen). I would then wander up and down the aisles calling for Mom. This happened several times until they put three extra people in the nursery: two ladies guarded the two doors out of the nursery, and one tried to keep me occupied.
We lived in a rural area and had no mail-delivery service. We received our mail at the post office. Daddy usually picked it up on his way home from work, but this day must have been his day off, and he took me with him. It would have taken him less than a minute to get out of the car, walk the few steps across the sidewalk, open the door of the post office, cross the narrow end of the room, twirl the combination on the box, remove the mail, close the box, and reverse his steps. Nevertheless, in that time, I had managed to roll down the window and climb out. I was hanging by my fingertips when dad emerged from the post office. He was just in time to see me drop to the ground and take off across the parking lot. Another ‘catch me if you can’ ensued.
Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t become a track star—and how I lived long enough to go to kindergarten.