I was born at 8:06 pm in Red Deer, Alberta, at the Red Deer regional hospital on Monday, December 15, 1986. My mother had rapid labour as she was only in it for 45 minutes before I popped out of the oven. The second I was conceived, it was during a serve blizzard-like usual for this part of the world, and when I arrived, there was a complete blackout throughout the city. I imagine the Red Deer, Alberta, Canada hospital was running on back-up power, obviously, and my Nana could not call anyone to tell them the birth of my mother’s first child and my grandma’s first and favourite grandchild. I imagine it was a similar situation when Nikola Tesla was born on July 10th, 1856, at midnight. He was born into a lightning storm, and the midwife of the village midwife said, “that could be a bad omen. He is a child of darkness.” To which Tesla’s mom said, “no, a child of light.” Nana wasn’t even 40-years-old when I came into this world. My mom got pregnant in Grade 11, at sixteen years young, and had me when she was seventeen. Doctors told my mother my legs were too bow-legged and oddly crooked, and they would have to break and reset them if I ever wanted to walk.
My mom could not bear to see her new six-pound six-ounce baby go through such intense surgery. I had a heart murmur, which 1 in 10 kids are born with. It is a small hole in the heart where some need surgery to correct it, but most heal independently. My biological father wasn’t in the picture, well he was for a bit, then wasn’t, then was, then went bye-bye. The abandonment issues I experienced as a child were confusing and hard to grip any understanding whatsoever. He did not want anything to do with me, so much so, he didn’t even bother to mention to my grandparents that their first grandchild was on his way. Lucky for my grandmother, she worked as a nurse at the hospital I was born at.
The following morning when my grandma went to work, her routine first thing would be to check to see the newborn babies. She would be. She was pleasantly surprised by screaming for joy. Right away, she just accepted it, and I was a part of that family. The way mom was able to hide the bun in the oven from the biological father’s side as she was so skinny, all it took to hide my ass was some baggier than usual clothes. Both sides of the family were very religious Catholics and Christians, so my grandparents were happily there to witness my baptism.
Unfortunately, my mother couldn’t stay and complete grade 12 as a young single mother. She had no choice but to work full-time and move out down the road from her mother and dad (if he was around himself) as they were in a smaller place with my mom’s younger sister, my Auntie and the youngest of the three, my Uncle Bobair. My mother had a challenging time raising me, and I was a baby who didn’t want her to sleep much. The biological father wasn’t financially and or emotionally supportive. He tried to live with my mom in low-income housing, but it never worked. He was flaky, never really there. One of the only things he ever bought me was a fishing rod. Then he would say to me and my mother he would be there to pick me up to go fishing.
Of course, he never showed up, and I would be sitting by the door like a fucking mutt waiting for its owner to come home from work, except this owner never comes home. My mom told me the disappointment that fell over me was excruciating, and my heart at two years old was broken into many pieces, which would take decades to repair. One of the times he did manage to find the time to take me out fishing, my mom said I do not take him to the river. I bet you can guess exactly where we went fishing that day? That right, the good ancient Red Deer river. The best part of the fishing trip is when he locked the keys and me inside the car. This is way before cell phones, so the quick-thinking genius decided to throw a rock through the window to save me from heatstroke. Unsure of if we caught anything that day, but at least I didn’t get swept into the river tides with the pike, walleye, sturgeon, brown trout and other fish. To Be Continued…
“I am not here to build a business; I am not here to build a corporation; I am not here to build Schools; I am not here to build churches—I am no Mother Theresa.
What I will do, is—lead a legacy.”
– Dean Mathers