Monday, May 07, 2007

Sweet 16

Shannon Elizabeth was born three minutes after midnight Tuesday April 9, 1991. I remember it well because I was there in the biblical sense. With labor going into the third day I was kind of hoping for the resurrection because I was starting to get a little tired of the pitocin pushing through the IV induced contractions. My doctor was normally a very happy-go-lucky, “the glass is half full” kind of guy, but at this juncture we were both getting a little worried. This was probably due to the fact that my doctor’s wife was also in labor on the same floor at the same time, so let’s just say his attentions were completely divided. It would have made for a great Lewis & Martin movie. He was convinced I was delivering a 10 pound baby. I felt like I was having a buffalo. Either way, Shannon did not want to born until she was ready. Not much has changed in 16 years.

The last word’s I remember the OB saying to me were “I’m not kidding around Tam…look at me…we need to get this baby out NOW!” Where were the jovial comforting reassurances? “OK”, I muttered…and with every ounce of strength left in me, she entered into the world with one final push. Feeling like Lance Armstrong or Forrest Gump somewhere near the Grand Canyon on the last pass, I looked into the eyes of this child and just wept. “You are so beautiful”! “I’m your mom and this is your Dad”. Honestly after three days of labor, I thought I was delivering a dinosaur. It was such a relief to behold such a small and delicate precious baby girl. She weighed less than 7 pounds and was the most amazing sight I had ever beheld. She was the complete likeness of her blue eyed father. I had nothing to do with it at all. I was only the vehicle by which she arrived and she came with her own blueprint for living. I’ve been watching the Architect work on her for 16 years and He isn’t through with her yet.

So much has happened since that day at Mercy General Hospital 16 years ago. Gram has been gone for two years now and I’ll never forget the hours she held Shannon as a newborn in her arms those first days after she was born. She would be proud of her namesake if she could see her now. I made sure I had a first year portrait of the two of them together and I’m so glad I had that done, especially now that Gram is gone. It hangs in a prominent place as a reminder of the legacy from which she came.

I would walk through fire for this child (as I would for her brother and younger sister), but the oldest “breaks you in” as a parent. Her first high fever freaked me out, the first fall off the bed darn near sent me into a tailspin, the first time she rode a bike, read a word, got lost at Disneyland, received a spanking, and just held my hand; they were all the firsts for me and she taught me more than I taught her. I learned a lot about patience, praying and loving from my firstborn. I learned how to diaper, breastfeed and take a temperature from this child. She was the one who hid from me in the middle of the clothing racks at the department store and thought it was funny when the security guards were searching for her with Code Adam’s blaring on the loudspeakers. Her tears would stop me in my tracks and her smiles melt my heart like butter. She brings me more comfort than I could possibly give her. I am humbled by her ability to make others happy, and encouraged by the friendships she has fostered. I am blessed to call her my daughter.

She is now learning to drive with her Dad. I’ve watched her become a young woman and she still takes my breath away. I see goodness in her that is not from me but from a higher place. I can’t wait to see the rest of her life unfold. Happy Sweet 16th Birthday Shannon! Your father and I love you more than words can express.

Tammy Maher is a resident of El Dorado Hills and biweekly columnist for the Mountain Democrat. You can reach her by email at or on the web at

1 comment:

Tom said...

Happy Birthday Shannon. Also Happy Birthday to you!, Tammy and JD!!! Hoo hoo!!!