Today is my mother’s birthday.

That’s not an April Fool’s joke.  It really is.

I’m not going to tell you how old she is, but it also just occurred to me, right this very second, that she was the age I am now when she gave birth to me.  For the next ten months, she will be twice my age.

Funny stuff, that math.

I was the third of three girls that she gave birth to, although the first two were twins so that skews things a bit, somehow.  She was, for the 1970s, an older mom.  I remember being embarrassed when I was in school because she was older than everyone else.  Once I came home and announced that we had been talking about our mom’s ages at lunch and I had lied about how old she was.

“What did you tell them?” she asked.

“I told them you were 39,” I said.

I think she laughed until she fell over.  She was really in her mid-40s.

39 seemed old to me then.  Even that was older than most of my friends’ mothers.  Breaching the 40s seemed unspeakable.

I was stupid.  Luckily she knew that.

I didn’t come here to tell you any of that.  I came here to tell you the story of my mom’s birth, which is an awesome one.

The island that my mother grew up on didn’t have a doctor, at least not a doctor that would deliver babies.  So when my grandmother went into labor, my grandfather bundled her up on the lobster boat and made the 15-minute crossing to the nearest town, which had what they used to call a “laying-in hospital.”  My grandfather dropped off his wife in the capable hands of the medical staff and asked, “What is this going to cost?”

The doctor told him.

My grandfather got back into the lobsterboat and headed out into the bay, where he proceeded to pull lobster traps until he had enough.  Then he motored over to the lobster pound and sold them.  He tied up the boat and walked to the hospital, where he handed the doctor $25.  And the doctor handed him my mother.

This is the stock from whence I came.

It’s no wonder she never had any use for my crap.

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