Year of the Dragon

Updated: Oct 3, 2020

I was born in total chaos. It was a motif, a foreshadowing of how the rest of my life would be in this dysfunctional family. I was a baby, so I’ll tell the story from my parent’s perspectives:

Mom’s Story:

“I was waiting in the doctor's office… And like always, the doctor was taking forever. 1 hour... 2 hours... 3 hours is inappropriate! There was a line of pregnant women out the door. The doctor walked in the room like I hadn’t been waiting three hours and said, "Sorry about that! The baby's breech and we’ll need you to go get an x-ray."

I waddled across the street to get an x-ray, and passed your dad, brother, and sister on the way. I waddled past, and your asshole father jumped in my face and yelled: "What’s taking so long?!" I said, "The baby’s breech and the doctor needs me to get an x-ray." I got the x-ray and waddled back to the doctor’s office.

I waited and waited, and didn’t want to wait anymore. So, I walked to the gift shop and bought a pack of baby bubble gum cigars. I was thinking Andrew could be “Mr. Big” and give them out once you were born.

Over the intercom, I heard: “Lucy, report to radiology immediately. Lucy! Report to radiology immediately!” I'd been gone 10 minutes. By the time I rounded the corner, a team of nurses rushed towards me with a wheelchair. “Don’t walk!” They yelled.

It was serious. One nurse was pushing the wheelchair. Another taking my vitals. And your dad, brother, and sister were chasing after me with a bag of McDonald’s.

I was stressed. Your father was stressed. We were screaming at each other, and the nurse yelled, “Do you have anyone to watch these kids?! You're going to have a baby!" Your dad dropped Andrew and Brittany off at Aunt Lester’s, and the nurses rushed us to the Operating Room for an Emergency C-Section.

I felt like cattle to the slaughterhouse. They shaved me, shoved an IV in my arm, and prepared me for the epidural. I looked at the needle and asked, “Is that the epidural?!” The nurse said, “No, that’s the needle that numbs you before the epidural.” The doctor cut me open like fish fillet and threw my intestines to the side. It was so cold! All I could say was: “There’s a draft coming in! There's a draft!” It was the coldest air I’d ever felt in my life. My teeth were chattering. I was freezing!

The doctor took one look inside and said: "This baby is the worst kind of breech. Back butt, sideways, and she has the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck.” After cranking, twisting, and yanking, the doctor pulled you out and yelled:

“Damn! That’s a big baby!”

8 lbs. 9 oz.

The second you came out; they took you away. In the recovery room, I had uncontrollable shakes. Cold air was trapped inside my body and I was miserable. Time stopped. The nurses finally came back and asked, “Do you want to see baby Valerie?

“Who the hell is baby Valerie?!” I asked. The nurses paused to say: “Your baby.” I wanted to name you Casey! ABC! Andrew… Brittany… Casey! Your f#cking father!

"How'd I get the name Valerie?" I asked.

A K-mart commercial.


My dad, older brother Andrew, and older sister Brittany

trying to touch my soft spot.

My mom and I were in the hospital for 4 days.

On day 3, there was an Earthquake. I got jaundice. They finally agreed to let us go with the instructions: “To be on bed rest and lay baby Valerie in a sunny window until her skin is tan.”

When we got home... The house was for sale, and everything in it was a disaster. Dirty dishes in the sink, piles of laundry, and Brittany (who just potty trained) had peed her pants.

“What the hell is Karl doing here?” My mom asked. Karl (my uncle and dad's older brother) came over to "help". Karl's idea of “help” was eating all the food my mom prepared before she went to the hospital. "That mother f*cker was licking the casserole clean when I walked in the door!" I was exhausted and starving, so I asked your dad and Uncle Karl to get KFC.

I popped 2 stitches cleaning that day. Your dad came back with the cheapest bucket of chicken, and half the chicken bones were clean! I was so mad that I threw milk in his face." She nonchalantly adds. "Remember, Irv? Remember when I threw milk in your face?!” She asks.

My dad (who was watching ESPN – was sidestruck by her question). He looked back, puffed his chest, and said: “Man! Why'd you ask your mother that question?! Why you gotta be causin' problems for your mother and I?!”

“Who me?!” I asked.

“I just wanted to know what it was when I was born?”

Dad’s Story:

“Your head wasn’t oblong like the others.”

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