Introducing our little girl Shannon Lowry Bessette! On March 26 at 1:09AM Danny and I welcomed our baby into this world. This little girl has been prayed for, dreamt about, and worked very hard for and we could not be more thrilled that God was gracious and blessed us with this little life. We look forward to sharing more about Shannon’s adventure to join our family and what life has been like with her as part of our world, but today we are starting with her name.
Names are such an important part of your identity and as parents Danny and I saw the responsibility of choosing her name as a huge honor. There were several aspects that we considered when selecting Shannon Lowry: name meaning, faith, heritage, popularity, and of course how we both liked it (luckily Danny and I are both more traditional so we often were on a similar page when playing the name game).
This was a name that both Danny and I genuinely liked (Danny was first to bring it up) and we each had visions of a rather specific girl in our minds that we associated with this pretty name (funny enough mine was a dark haired girl with blue eyes… which I said aloud, but concluded with how the eye part will likely not happen… but have you see our baby’s eyes 🙂 ). It is strong but also feminine, not super common, but not hard to prounonce or something she will spend the rest of her life correcting people. All in all this name sat at the top of girl list when we found out we were expecting for most of our pregnancy.
In addition to just liking Shannon, we also really loved its Irish roots. Danny’s mom is 90%-100% Irish and my mom is 75% Irish…. so this means our kiddos will be more Irish in their heritage than anything else and we really liked the idea of having a name that reflected that history.
What names mean is something that is important to me. So when I looked up the meaning of Shannon it said in Celtic “God is Gracious”. Knowing that for Christian’s “gracious” describes how God shows his mercy on his people, this was the perfect fit for our little miracle. God has been gracious to us by giving us this little girl we have waited a long time to welcome into our family.
Saints are also something I like to look at when thinking of names. Saint Senán is the Irish Saint for Shannon who lived in the 400s and has a variety of legends associated with his legacy in Ireland. The feast day is March 8, my birthday. As many saints, Saint Senán set a great example of walking in faith, self denial, sacrifice and leadership in the church – but beyond the feast day and Irish heritage nothing overly connected us to this saint. However at the start of this part of our infertility journey, I had been immersed in the story of Anna meeting Jesus at the temple. Her life had not gone at all the way she had planned: being left widowed and without her son at younger age, Anna found herself at a loss. Women in that time were required to have a man to provide for them and she had lost all of hers. So she decided since God had let all this take place, he could be the one that would also need to take care of Anna. She sustained life by being in the temple all day, everyday and God provided for her. Many years later when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to be presented at the temple, it was Anna that was also there to meet him. And this story ends that with all that her heart suffered and still longed for was healed with meeting Jesus. As we took this next step in our journey to have a family Anna was my inspiration and I prayed that God would make the pathway clear for us to have a family (having walked through adoption and now fertility treatments) or heal my heart to let go of the desire. Just as Anna did, I gave God my heart and let him be the one to provide…. when I realized that “Ann” was in “Shannon” and it means “God is gracious” I knew Shannon was the name.
My family often uses familial names for middle names, for example Grant, Katy and I all have maiden names as our middle names. I absolutely loved this idea- a name with important meaning, that connects our little family to our ancestries, and each name will come with its own story. Quickly after this explanation Danny adopted this idea too. So we gathered a list of family last names and started working on a plan (in fact we even have ideas for a few of the other names we like). Since this was our first baby and Bessette would be her last name, we opted to use a family name from my side and selected Lowry. This is my great grandmother on my Dad’s side maiden name and also my middle name.
When my parents got married, literally on their wedding day, my great grandmother Gigi told my mom their first born was to be named Lowry. To which my mom asked “is that for a boy or girl” and Gigi responded pretty quick: “it doesn’t matter”. But by strange coincidence both my grandmothers are named Jackie – so that was the clear winner for the first name and Lowry would be my middle.
Lowry is a name that was specifically given to me to help carry a family name into the future. There has always been something special about this name and the duty it represents to remember my heritage. This is part of the reason when I got married I decided to change my last name and keep my middle (some folks will keep their maiden name as thier new last name, drop the middle name and move on), but it was a name given to me to carry so I kept it. So when presented the chance to give this name to the next generation by way of my daughter, I jumped at the opportunity.
But not only would Lowry connect Shannon to me, but also directly to her great grandmother Ruben Heppes. Our Gigi was a fascinating lady who had a very unique life and did not let “supposed to” or “should” get in her way. Widowed early in life, she changed the loss into an opportunity to see a different side of life. Likely she set out to enjoy married and family life, but since that changed earlier than expected she opted to have a variety of jobs and even travel the world – something especially unique for a women in those days. Some of her roles included working for Scholastic Reader (the little newspaper we read in school as kids) and being a fraternity house mother! And in a day and age when the world seemed much bigger and it took a lot of time and effort to explore it- not just a google bar or easy plane ticket – Gigi took a freighter boat and saw all different parts of the globe. In fact this Thanksgiving when going through my Pop-pops belongings we found her passport and scrap book – things I pulled and saved to give to Shannon. As a child I knew her, but was pretty young – however I distinctly remember a few things: she was very gentle, had an incredibly sweet and warm smile, and her room in my Grandfather’s house was filled with treasures from all over the world – fine china, creative pictures and trinkets that even as a kid I remember being impressive. She created for herself a variety of adventures, and yet none of it was based around bragging or despair or entitlement, it was all about learning to play the cards you are dealt well and both enjoy as well as appreciate the parts of life presented to you – no matter the delivery method.
If there is a lesson Danny and I can give to our daughter its that life will likely not go the way you planned, but that doesn’t mean it has to be all a loss and sometimes the extremely difficult things to get past are also the ones that lead to incredible experiences you would never have even dreamt of (we often see CF that way). What better way to instill that lesson than with a name that includes her Irish heritage: a people who struggled but were able to eventually create full lives in America – through her faith: Anna found herself with difficult circumstances, but did not grow bitter, just moved closer to God, living under his protection – through her family: don’t let what you thought should happen distract you from what could and when you have those moments like Gigi cherish them without bragging. We believe these things can give Shannon a strength, a foundation, a guide and some tools for this life – necessary truths we have learned when building our family….. which leads to her last name Bessette. We have worked very hard to create a strong marriage and now a family – so to share a name reminds us that forever we will be united, there for each other, and grounded in the faith and values we cultivate together. Shannon Lowry Bessette – we love you so much sweet girl and are so happy you are here.
Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!