Now Valentine’s Day means so much more

Published 12:02am Sunday, March 3, 2013

Valentine’s Day has never been a holiday high on my anticipation list.

The day has always seemed to be overly sappy and a bit too commercialized.

Growing up, I recall the awkwardness of having to bring Valentine’s Day cards to school and the weirdness of giving and receiving cards that seemingly expressed love to my classmates.

It was strange enough in the second grade to give a girl a card with a heart, but giving such cards to boys seemed downright wrong.

Of course, my Mom was one who was always sure that I brought enough cards to give one to everyone — even the folks I didn’t really want to “be mine.”

Eventually, the cuteness of elementary school Valentine’s traditions passed by the wayside as hormones took over and schoolyard crushes filled in where the heart-shaped doily crafts (teachers forced us to make them) left off.

So a few weeks ago, the idea that Valentine’s Day was on the way really didn’t mean much to me. I’d sort of moved on from all the traditions. Beyond flowers for my wife and perhaps a box of chocolates, the day wasn’t all that special.

At least until I found myself in the early morning standing at the bedside as Julie went into labor.

We’d read all the books and realized that just because she was in labor didn’t exactly mean the baby would arrive that day. Then Dr. Frank Guedon appeared and said, essentially, “We’re not letting you go home. You’re going to have that baby today.”

Now Valentine’s Day will never be the same again.

A few hours later, we were staring at the 7-pound, 6-ounce squirming pile that had consumed practically every second of the last nine months.

Anna Grace Cooper became a Natchezian at 1:07 p.m. on Feb. 14 — forever marking Valentine’s Day with a renewed sense of love and affection for Julie and me.

Mom and baby are doing well and resting at home, growing and learning about one another as the days go by.

Fortunately for Anna she has her mother’s looks (we think) and her hair (for certain).

For all of you have kept us in your thoughts and prayers over the past weeks and months, I offer my most sincere thanks.

Saying that I found love on Valentine’s Day is an amazing understatement.

Many people have written about the instantaneous bond that occurs between parents and newborns. All of what’s been written is true. It’s amazing how quickly this special little blessing can tie up your heart.

Sure, we’ve not slept much over the last few weeks, but that’s part of the gig and will improve over time.

Anna doesn’t know this yet, but her presence also did something amazing for my perspective on life, too.

Standing in the dimly lit hospital room, quietly bouncing her in my arms two amazing thoughts struck me.

If I already feel this way about this tiny little girl, who I hardly know, how much more deeply will my love for her grow over time?

Then, even through bleary eyes, the kind that seem quite normal at 3 a.m., the depth of parental love hit me hard and in a way that I didn’t expect.

If I love this little girl, how incredibly amazing is that our Lord sacrificed his only son, Jesus Christ, for us?

God’s love for us, as dirty and awful as we are, has no bounds.

That single thought hung with me for hours into the night and has lingered with me to this day.

His love warms my heart and makes me love Him and the special blessing he’s just given Julie and me all the more.


Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or