Down Bayou Lafourche in Louisiana, snow is so rare it only happens once or twice in a lifetime.
The first time my mother saw snow was the day I was born. I imagine she was a bit upset about having to watch it through the hospital window, she likes rare and odd things. Usually.
Just after the doctor delivered me, just after he said, “It’s a girl,” she looked at me in horror.
“Take her away! I don’t want her!” She screamed over and over again.
It’s true, she did say that. My dad and my aunts all heard her say it. The doctor who delivered me told me the same years later when he removed my tonsils.
This sounds like a horrible mother story, but it isn’t. It’s not the whole story.
She had been heavily drugged for the delivery (this was before epidurals) and thought she had given birth to a monster. She said I was so covered in vernix that I looked like “a cement baby.”
The next day, a childless couple went to her hospital room. They had overheard her screams. They offered her twenty-five thousand dollars for me. That was a lot of money back then. That’s a chunk today. And that was just their starting bid. Who goes in with their highest offer?
Of course, my parents didn’t even entertain the idea, so there’s no telling how much these people were willing to pay.
I could tell you I have deep psychic pain over being rejected in the first seconds of my life by my own mother. But I’d be lying through my teeth. The way I saw things, I was priceless, my parents had been tested. Proof with a bottom number that I was loved.
There were days when things weren’t so great with my family, days when I would daydream how my life might have been if I’d been sold to the people with a suitcase full of money. I’d imagine being dropped off at some exclusive school with “Imaculate Conception” in the name. My driver would open the limo door for me. My “parents,” who looked like movie stars would never be around. I could jump on the mattresses and leave my plate on the table for the servants. The daydream would come to a screeching halt when I couldn’t imagine getting as much as a hug from my rich fantasy parents. I’d snap back to reality, happy that my real parents (or I, literally) could not be bought.
I used to tease my brothers, tell them I was worth a ton of money to some family out there. I’d work the supply and demand angle. Tell them if it had been one of them born that day, they might have been sold because I was the only girl and they were one of four boys. I left them wondering if our parents might have at least gotten to the negotiating table if it had been one of them instead.
These days I wonder if there is any amount of money my mom would take to have me back to herself again? I see her and Blane at the negotiating table, my mom pushing away stacks of money, “No way man, you keep her.”
So that’s how I was born. On The Bayou, covered in cheese, rejected, worth maybe millions, and then some… All on a rare snow day.