So this is the situation. I had two kids by my first marriage. I worked my ass off to be the best father I could be on my own for six years. Then I met the love of my life. I wasn’t really planning on having more kids since I was so wiped out dealing with the two I already had. But I also loved kids. And I adored my new wife.
Adding to my anxiety over expanding our brood was the physical reality of being older parents. If you have looked at the fertility charts those doctors flash around like some kind of stock graph, with absolutely no awareness of their devastating impact, you know what I mean.
To sum up this little tale thus far: I was worried about not only if I wanted a kid but whether we would be able to have one even if we tried.
Flash forward to the Grammies, 2005. Yeah you got that right. Melissa Ethridge, bald from chemo, is belting out Janis Joplin’s Piece of My Heart on stage. To this day both my wife and I think it had to be the best live performance we have ever seen live…on TV. It was so powerful, so profound, so moving that my wife went into labor.
It wasn’t until I had her in delivery room, had gone back out and parked the car, and was back inside talking to the nurses that a very interesting thought occurred to me. Tomorrow is Valentines Day. At the rate things are moving along here, my child will most likely be born on Valentines Day.
I had already selected a name for our child. We knew he was a boy (at an amazingly early stage in the pregnancy the ultrasound revealed a well-hung Matlack), so I had picked out “Rocco.” Rocco was a friend of a friend who was once the American Bench Press champion. A man worthy of honor.
If you are a dad you know that being in the delivery room watching the mother of your child go through the amazing, but brutally painful, process of childbirth greatly reduces your leverage in the naming department. So realistically I pretty much knew “Rocco” was a loser. But as my wife began progressing in the delivery I worked the Valentines angle, enlisting the help of the nurses.
“Valentino,” I suggested.
It didn’t work. But it made my beautiful wife smile.
Our boy was born healthy and happy on Valentines Day, 2005. That makes him 7 today.
He has been the best Valentines day gift we ever got. By a very wide margin. The big kids adore him. And we will never give him back.
His name is Cole.