I was born on a stormy night, in Louisiana. My father was stationed in New Orleans, trying to capture a serial killer that the New Orleans police department were having trouble with. My father was a profiler with the FBI.
It was 1976 and NOAA/NWS hadn’t started naming hurricanes yet. If they had named them in 1976, I could tell you what the name of the storm was on the day I was born. My parents are fond of reminding me that I was three weeks late and decided a hurricane was the best time to make an exit. It was also a rare early hurricane. Forming on April 28, 1976 and making landfall in Louisiana on May 2, 1976. My birth record says I was born at 11:59 pm on May 2 and it was May 3, before my parents got to see me. I’d been delivered using the emergency power system and getting me cleaned up took a while I guess. It still does.
My parents are amazing people. I was the second boy born to them. As far as birth order goes, I’m the fourth of five biological children my parents. They aren’t Catholic, but my mom was allergic to all birth control pills in the 1960s and 1970s. I point out biological children, because my parents would end up raising a total of 9 children to adulthood.
In 1976, my dad had been a profiler for 2 years and 5 months. Normally, we didn’t have to move where he went for work, but damn that case in New Orleans was a different kind of killer. As a result, all my siblings were born in Washington DC, where our father was stationed, except me.
My parents met in 1968. My mother was 15. My father was 20. And before you start talking about pedophilia and saying “ewww” it wasn’t quite like that. My father was in college. My father’s college roommate lived an hour from the uni. My father’s family lived on the other side of the country. So, in 1968, his roommate invited my father to join his family for Thanksgiving and my father accepted. My mother, Helena, was the 15 year old sister of my father’s college roommate. My father says Helena was beautiful, but that was it, until she opened her mouth. They both agree she looked at her brother and said “I can’t believe you voted for Nixon, he’s a criminal.” My father says that’s when he fell in love with her. Here she was 15, growing up in a conservative family, and yet willing to dare, as a girl, to have an opinion that didn’t agree with her family’s and vocalize it.
And she was fascinated by my father dual majoring in psychology and criminal justice. There were no confessions of love or even lust that weekend. Instead, my father tagged along with his roommate a few more times when they had breaks. His roommate figured out my father was in love with Helena, according to my dad, but he didn’t get upset. Instead, as they neared 1970, he encouraged Helena, now 17 to write letters to my dad and they became penpals. My uncle used to tell us kids that we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him. My father did not come from a conservative family, his parents were both hippies. They were horrified that their son wanted to become a G-Man. In 1971, my parents went on their first date.
My dad took my mom to dinner at the fanciest restaurant in town. He wanted to impress her. He’d been saving all his wages from his part time university job for a month, he said. Both of them said the conversation never stopped. And when he drove her home, mom says before I got out of the car, I looked at him and said “You know, I think I’d like being the wife of an FBI agent.” Mom says dad didn’t get the hint and she had to push for a second date. Dad said his application to Quantico hadn’t been accepted, so he thought maybe she had met someone a little further along in the process of being an FBI agent and he’d lost his chance.
They married in 1972, the same year my father was accepted to Quantico. The twins were born in 1973, fraternal twins; one girl Michelle and one boy; Christopher. Then in 1975, they gave birth to my other sister; Amy. Then came me. In 1977, they had another girl; Lesley. Unfortunately, my sister Lesley died of measles when she was just 4 months old. It was the first great tragedy my family faced.
In 1978, my father was partnered up with another profiler, last name of McMichael’s. His wife and my mom got on like a house on fire. They quickly became inseparable. I think they got along better than my father and Special Agent McMichaels. They had two kids, both boys. Jeffrey was the same age as the twins. Lucas was a year older than me. Jeffrey and Christopher became great friends. And Lucas and I became great friends. And our father’s were superheros in our eyes. Ten feet tall and bulletproof as they say.
In 1984, my uncle and his wife died in a car crash. The uncle that had brought my parents together. They were hit head on by a truck traveling on the wrong side of the highway. One of their two children also died. My parents adopted the surviving child. That same year, my father was shot in the line of duty. It nearly killed him. Somehow, my father survived.
Oh, I missed an important part of my life. A really important part of my life. My mom said she worried over me a great deal because I bruised easily as a baby, really really easily. What would be a small bruise on a regular baby would be a massive fucking black and purple bruise on me. When I started learning to walk, I nearly bled to death internally. I fell on a Jack-in-Box. I cut my chin, but that wasn’t the scary part. The scary part was when my entire torso began to bruise. My parents rushed me to the ER, my dad had solved the case in New Orleans finally and we were back in Washington DC. They were told I was a hemophiliac and that I’d probably die of a paper cut by the time I was three and they should prepare themselves. Obviously, I didn’t. And it turned out not to be hemophilia, which is good, because I would be dead.
My parents treated me like I was made of blown glass for several years. My siblings said they weren’t allowed to own anything I might get hurt on, including Legos. When I started kindergarten, I accidentally got my finger shut in a bathroom door. It was the early 1980s and bathrooms were still those massive heavy wooden doors. Blood spurted from the wound and I was rushed by ambulance to the ER from school. And we got a new diagnosis Von Willebrand Disease Type 3. I don’t make enough of the protein Von Willebrand which helps blood to clot and it nearly lead to my parents getting divorced. It’s inherited. But neither of my parents had ever heard of it, meaning no one in the families had it. So where had it come from? I remember the fights that ensued for weeks; my father accusing my mother of cheating on him and my mother swearing she hadn’t. Their marriage was saved by my older brother Christopher getting hurt. He fell out of a tree, huge gash on his knee. My parents couldn’t get the bleeding to stop and rushed him to the hospital. Christopher had Von Willebrand Disease Type 1. It is the mildest type and he didn’t bruise like I did as a result. Christopher had also broken his arm in the fall and my dad’s mother came to stay and help out my mom with us kids. One night, during dinner my grandmother said “You got lucky, my brother fell off a horse when he was six and bled to death.” Turns out, my father’s family had a long line of deaths related to bleeding, but none of his generation had problems with it, so the family had never mentioned it to any of them. Chris and I are just unlucky. I have one cousin on dad’s side that also has Von Willebrand Disease, in her it’s Type 2. I’m the worst of us on bleeding and I do infusions of a medication every month for an hour that fills my blood with that protein. Those infusions coupled with clotting powder keeps me alive. I did not put it on my form in the medical history section when I joined the military and it was years before they found out. I was actually a SEAL by then. It’s why I went to medical school when I got my medical discharge. Getting shot makes it really hard to hide that you have a disease that makes you bleed a lot.
Anyway, in 1990, Lucas was 15, his brother was 17. They were all swimming at their lake house. My family was there too. Our fathers had finally become friends like our mothers and Lucas’s brother drowned. It wasn’t a normal drowning though. Lucas and I both think he was murdered. We saw something in the water and along the shore that day. We saw a man enter the water wearing SCUBA gear about half an hour before Lucas’s brother started screaming for help. He only bobbed to the surface once before disappearing into the depths. Lucas and I were closest and went into the water to save him, but we couldn’t swim down far enough and the water was dark. Less than a year later, Lucas went to school like normal. But when he came home, there was no one there. He called my mom thinking our moms were together. But they weren’t. My mom frantically packed all of us into her mini-van and flew like devils were chasing her to Lucas’s house.
She called my dad who said Lucas’s dad hadn’t shown up for work and within an hour, police were investigating. The FBI and everything. They wanted to put Lucas in a foster home. My mom punched the social worker in the face when that woman told my mom Lucas couldn’t go home with us that night, but she could petition to have him come live with us in a week if his parents hadn’t returned.
They arrested my mom that night for assault. Dad bailed her out. Within the hour, she’d been arrested again for assault, this time assault on a police officer. While she’d been in custody some cop had transferred Lucas to a group home. My mom punched him too. Then my dad pulled some strings and found out where they’d taken Lucas. Both my parents were arrested when they went to the home and demanded Lucas be turned over to them. A US Marshal showed up and saved the day. His name was Nathan Greene. He said Lucas was a material witness and needed extra protections and that he was taking custody of Lucas. Then he convinced the police to drop the charges against my parents and turned custody of Lucas over to my parents.
Two years after his parents went missing. My parents were able to legally adopt him. He was seventeen by then though, so it was just a formality.
Lucas and I were both seniors in high school, when my parents took in a couple more kids. Another great tragedy had befallen our family. My dad’s sister was found murdered in her home. Her ex-husband was arrested, but my dad thought otherwise. She had three kids; two girls aged 4 and a boy who was 9. Twins run in my family. My older siblings had already moved out and Lucas and I would be joining the Navy in a few months.
Over the years, I’ve realized my parents love children. They love having a house full of noisy, toddlers, and moody teens. They are not disappointed in any of their children, which is strange, because my brother Christopher grew up to be a starving artist, literally. He’s a painter; a profession that is feast or famine and he works part time as a house painter when he needs money to pay bills. I supplement his income some. My sister Michelle has six kids, she owns her own salon. My sister Amy has four kids of her own. Her husband is a minister at a Baptist Church. They also suffered love at first sight. Amy says the moment she met him, there was a zing and she knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. He says she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever met and so damn smart it made his head hurt. They married in the 1980s and it was still a bit of a struggle. My brother-in-law Martin is black. My sister is a fair haired pasty white girl who reminds me of Tiffany with blond hair. She’s a teacher and leads the choir, has a voice like an angel. And when Martin decided to become a preacher, my atheist sister, decided to go find God herself. She’s still not as dedicated to it as he is, but she supports him in it and she attends every service. Martin says the most philosophical and thought-provoking conversations about religion and God he’s ever had, have been conversations with Amy, because she’s still one of the smartest women he’s ever known. Amy also counsels the ladies of his ministry on marriage and other things. Thankfully, Martin is vocal that husbands that beat their wives are evil. On that him and Amy are in total agreement. He often preaches that Eve was made from Adam’s rib to be his partner and his equal and men who beat their wives are breaking the covenant God made with man when he gave him woman.
My parents’ adopted children are also doing well and having babies like madmen. My parents couldn’t be happier if they won the lottery. And after nearly 50 years, my parents still look at each other like they are twenty year olds just finishing their first date. They hold hands in public, they kiss in front of the grand kids and the handful of great grand kids they are starting to get. And they’ve already decided when Lucas and Trevor’s baby is born, my parents are coming to stay with me, right next door to Lucas and Trevor, just in case they need some help getting sleep or something. And they can’t wait to meet the grown up Aislinn Cain who donated the eggs for their next grandbaby. Remember, my father has met her once, when she was 8 years old. He really wants to meet her now, as an adult. It should be exciting for everyone. Ace is praying we have a case in another state, but Lucas is getting six months of maternity leave… so we’ll probably be handling cases here for those six months since we’ll be a man down.