On our drive to school each morning we would pass many farms and dairies. It happened to be Valentine’s Day. We were passing a pasture on Vincent Road just before the Sante Fe stop sign. The kids had seen the tallow truck many times collecting dead cows. We had seen it a few minutes earlier at a dairy just up the street. Adam pointed to a cow lying in the pasture close to the fence. He pointed it out and said he thought it was dead and the “dead truck” would be coming to this dairy too. Then the cow moved.
I slowed the car to a stop and parked just a few yards from the cow. She wasn’t dead or dying, she was delivering a calf. She was positioned perfectly for us to watch. The calf’s front hooves were already visible. The kids all wanted to roll down the windows but we kept them rolled up as she continued to push out her baby. They yelled and squirmed every time she moved. We could see her legs stiffen as she strained to push then she would be so still the kids would think she had died. When she pushed again everyone let out a scream of joy and relief. In just a matter of minutes the little one was born.
Momma cow immediately stood and began to lick her baby. Heidi and Robin thought that was pretty gross but we all kept watching. Within five minutes the little one was standing by its mom. The kids all cheered, I cheered too. What a great start to a morning to see this new life begin. Cow and calf started walking slowly in the other direction and we continued our drive to school.
The conversation stayed on the birth of that calf the entire day. When we pulled into the parking lot the kids began gathering their valentines for their parties at school. Adam blurted out, “Let’s call our calf Valentine because she was born on Valentines Day.” I'm not sure why Adam said "our" calf but I didn't correct him. The birthing event had become a very special time for all of us and the name stuck.
We had two different driving routes to school We took the route that went by Valentine for several months. The kids all loved watching her grow. She liked to run and play with other calves in the pasture. One morning as we drove by we noticed Valentine and all the others were gone from the pasture. We took our alternative route to school for a while.
A few months later I drove the pasture route again and much to our delight we saw several cows were again in the pasture. Adam pointed out to the other kids how round the cows looked. "There will be babies again soon!" he was excited to say. Sure enough, within a few weeks calves began to appear beside their moms in the pasture again.
Our kids saw kittens, puppies, rabbits, goats, calves, and pigs born on our ranch but somehow seeing Valentine born was special. I can't decide if it was a great bonding time between me and my kids, a good excuse to be late for school, or both!