One-year-old son offers life lessons

Published 12:29 am Sunday, December 3, 2017

Saying time flies is a cliché, but such things become overused phrases and earn that name because they are so true.

Cliché or not, the last 12 months at our house have indeed flown by quickly. Our family’s small world changed dramatically at 10:13 a.m., Dec. 1, 2016.

At that moment our family grew by one-third with the arrival of baby James.

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The little man turned 1 last week, and it’s truly difficult to comprehend just how much those 12 months have passed so quickly.

Photographs of him taken at one-month increments show his transformation from a baby into a small little boy.

And to say he’s all boy is an understatement. Moments after he was born he grabbed a paper file folder the nurse had put near him in the little incubator as she was giving him the once over.

She laughed at the time at how strong he was.

I remember thinking at the time, simultaneously that I was glad to know he was healthy and strong, but then also a sudden realization that his first few moments of exploration around him might just be an omen of things to come.

And just like the popular relationship book from a few years ago that references men being from Mars and women being from Venus, James and our daughter, Anna, could be from different planets based on their interest level in “getting into things” that babies should not.

As first-time parents with Anna, we were overly protective, baby proofing some rooms in our house to make them safe zones.

It was all for naught. Anna’s personality was quiet and cautious. She never tested the safety mechanisms in place.

James on the other hand just about requires a barbed wire fence of protections to stop him from figuring a way over, around or through something.

While Anna remains relatively methodical and cautious, James grows bolder by the day.

Put up an obstacle in an attempt to block him from accessing something and he’ll throw himself over it without fear of harm.

He remains among the most easygoing child I’ve ever been around. I’m hoping that trait sticks for a long time. He reminds me much of my own father. Like James, my dad is slow to anger, quick to crack a dry joke.

As we marked James’s first birthday Saturday with family, I couldn’t help but look at the photographs of James, noticing how he has changed over the last few months, I couldn’t help but wonder what the years ahead will entail.

Other than hearing him babble or say “Bye Bye” which alternates from a sweet, baby voice to the guttural sound of a lifelong smoker, we don’t know what his voice will sound like.

We don’t know much about his future yet, but we know that even with only 12 months into his life, he already has the hearts of his mother, his sister, me and grandparents and cousins.

Like his grandfather, with whom he shares a first name, he’s relatively slow to anger, quick to laugh and smile, and he genuinely seems to love life and the people around him.

For that, we are deeply blessed, and we’re so happy to have James as a part of our family.

Though time ahead will certainly continue to fly by, I hope and pray we all are able to take a cue from James and slow down, not take life too seriously and enjoy more laughs than tears.

Happy birthday, little man.
Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or