• Shannon Beaver


Okay guys, I'm gonna get real all up on this blog for a minute, mmmkay?

So if you don't know me (Shannon here, btw), I'm a Special Needs mom. My 12 year old has a major heart condition that has required three open heart surgeries and will someday likely require a heart transplant. He's doing amazingly well, despite technically living with "half a heart", but we have regular cardiology checkups to measure how he's doing, and part of that process periodically includes a heart catheterization! Trenton has had something like 12 or 13 heart caths in his life. He doesn't remember much about any of them, or his heart surgeries (thank goodness!), but when we took him in for his latest cath procedure, he was more than a little afraid. Picture an anxiety-ridden, selectively mute little man, as person after person in scrubs pours into our pre-op room to poke and prod at him while they try to talk to him about this scary procedure he's about to have done. The "happy meds" they'd given weren't working well and he was just so incredibly nervous, especially after hearing that he'd have to get wheeled off to the cath lab without me or Matt.

As if right on cue, our amazing friend and Child Life Specialist appeared, and she was such a welcome, familiar face and a relief for my son to see. We watched her pretty much take charge of the situation, knowing him so well and seeing his quiet cues that he was really struggling. Before we knew it, she was suited up in a clean surgery suit, sitting in a wheelchair, ready to hold him in her arms and be wheeled with him back to the cath lab. And that's exactly what they did. She stayed there with him, helping him feel safe until he was sedated.

I'm not sure how to adequately explain what a gift that was to ALL of us in that moment. It's heartbreaking to watch any child go through that kind of experience, and this woman has made helping kids through these moments her CAREER. And you guys, she's amazing at it. She has a heart of gold and love for children that just oozes out of her, and I'm telling you, everyone feels it when she walks into a room. We are SO thankful we have her in our lives for so many reasons more than just this story. And don't get me started on how much I love her daughter, too! Friend, thank you SO much for ALL you do for the kids you love on every day. You have such an important, impactful job and make some really hard moments so much easier because you are there.

Because we just love her so, we just had to feature some of these amazing images from our latest session with she and her sweet Little Miss. If this isn't the picture of summer perfection, we don't know what is!!

Because of this session, we hereby declare that all summer sessions with Lantern Tree should include popsicles (and wipes! ha!) because really, we all deserve a little treat after a photo shoot! Love you, Jenna!! --Shannon

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