Occasionally my brother and I asked my mom questions about her life and what she did as a kid, but then she would just go off on some sort of tangent about how good WE had it, how she had to work the fields picking strawberries in the summer. And how she was grateful for that ten cents per pint! There's only so many times a kid can hear that story before they stop listening or start mimicking their parent, and that just leads to tears all around. So we stopped asking, and my mother was just fine with that. She had a house to clean, and the soaps to watch.
My brother and I did discover that if we wanted some entertainment, we could get my parents to argue by asking my dad how long my mom was in labor. My father, not always attentive to his surroundings, has a tendency to minimize everything. "It's just a scratch," is an oft-repeated sentence around here. Men, here's a tip: do NOT minimize or trivialize the labor. Do not wave your hand and say "Meh, it was just a couple of hours!" That is a good way to get any mother very angry in a hurry.
I have picked up a few tidbits of information about my birth over the years. I pay attention, mostly when my mom is talking to someone else, and I have a great auditory memory. Here's what I have gleaned over the years:
- I was likely conceived during the honeymoon, because I was born two days short of 9 months. (Before you make that mental leap, let me say that my parents appear to be more Catholic than the Pope. Plus, there were nuns all over the family tree, and they were all attending the wedding in full nun regalia. So no premarital funny business!)
- I was born in El Paso, Texas at William Beaumont Army Hospital, where my dad worked.
- My mother has admitted during interrogation that while she was pregnant with me, cucumbers made her hurl. (I love cucumbers. Weird.)
- I was born butt first, and that it took awhile before I would lay flat on my back without my legs rising. I found that particular tidbit illuminating; no wonder I could never do the splits!
- My mother did not have an epidural or any anesthesia during my arrival, because I came too fast.
Those last two factors are why my mother has been in a perpetual bad mood for my entire life. I can't say that I blame her. It must have been quite painful to bring me into the world, and it certainly hasn't been easy to raise me. Although I think that she should have been happy that I only weighed six pounds.