A San Jose baby, mother and grandmother all born on the same date makes one ponder life’s most existential questions

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San Jose family’s ‘birthday trio’ spurs mathematical, cosmic ponderings. A San Jose baby, mother and grandmother all born on the same date makes one ponder life’s most existential questions.

What are the mathematical odds? What’s the cosmic significance? And, of course, the greatest musing of all: Who gets to pick the flavor of the birthday cake?

Thankfully, there are experts ready with answers for the Terry family, whose female relatives spanning three generations all were born on Feb. 2.

Cherise Terry, 47, her daughter, Jasmine, 22, and newborn, Anala, now all live together in a comfortable ranch home in the northern part of the city along the foothills.

“These kind of ties between people is a strong sign that they are karmically linked and shared other lives,” said Duncan Nanney, a longtime Palo Alto astrologer.

As 3-week-old Anala recently nursed beneath a blanket at the Terry home, the two older women rolled their eyes, laughed aloud, and said they didn’t necessarily buy that line of astrological thinking.

Still, they thought their shared birthday was special enough to start Googling around and publicly announce what they thought was pretty special news.

“I thought it was kind of unique,” said Cherise’s husband, Kerry Terry, 46, a computer engineer-turned-minister. “We thought two was kind of interesting. But three? Wow. All our friends thought we should call Maury Povich or Oprah.”

The closest scenario he could find was a woman in Gloucester, England, who gave birth to three girls on Jan. 29 in different years —coincidentally, the birthday of the Terrys’ eldest son, Kerry Jr., who is 24.

But professor Trevor Hastie, chairman of Stanford University’s statistics department, calculated a handy number for the Terry women, alerting them — numerically, at least — just how special they are. The chances of three generations in one family having the same birthday is:

“Seven in a million,” the professor quickly figured out. Or, precisely, 7.5 in a million.

For those scratching their heads, Hastie explained: A mother having a daughter on the same birthday has one chance in 365, for every day of the year. Then, multiply that “1/365″ by another “1/365″ to figure out what the odds are for the daughter to have her child on the same day.

Then, just for fun, Hastie threw in this statistical nugget. Assuming there are 30 million grandmothers over the age of 45 in the United States, there are about 210 chances of this “birthday trio” occurring.

“People want to think that these types of things are big coincidences,” Hastie said. “While seven in a million is a relatively small chance, it’s still very probable.”

All the Terry family really knows is that now, the birthday focus — and the lucky one who gets to pick the cake — will shift downward. For years, Cherise’s birthday was pushed to the side, usually celebrated with a shopping trip to Los Angeles the weekend after her birthday, topped with a trip to Marie Callender’s for pie.

That’s because Jasmine was the focus. And Cherise spent her own birthday making homemade strawberry cake for her daughter.

Now, Kerry Terry laughs, Jasmine will soon learn that the baby will now demand all the attention every Feb. 2, which also happens to be Groundhog Day, for the next 18 years.

“God has a sense of humor,” Kerry Terry said.

Other than being a statistical anomaly, the family says they are pretty simple folk.

Cherise Terry ran a home day care for years while also raising her three children, including son Darius, 18 — all of whom graduated from Piedmont Hills High School. Now, she works as a morning stocker at Costco. Jasmine is enrolled as a business student at California State University-East Bay, taking courses online for a while. And baby Anala? She seems to share her mother’s penchant for making silly faces while she sleeps. No one even thought the baby was going to be born Feb. 2 anyway. Her due date was three weeks earlier.

Everyone in the Terry family realizes it’s now Anala’s turn to make the birthday cake decisions. Unless, of course, she has a baby on Feb. 2.

Good luck, Anala. There’s one chance in 50 million that will happen.

Source & Courtesy: Mercury News : http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_11801159

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