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Woman becomes grandma on Mother's Day - twice

May 16, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Last year Cathy Shaffer's Mother's Day present was a grandson, a gift she thought could never be duplicated.

She was wrong.

Last Sunday, At 1:47 p.m., her second grandchild, Damien Shaffer, became this year's first Mother's Day baby born at Washington County Hospital. He weighed in at 7 pounds, 13 ounces.

"I just feel like the luckiest woman in the world," Shaffer said.

"It's a gift my mom will never forget by making my mom a grandma and my wife a mom on that day of all days," Matthew Shaffer said.

As gifts go, Shaffer has a stockpile of them. In recent years her three sons have given her a diamond necklace and a mother's ring containing each of their birthstones: A diamond, a ruby and an opal.

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When they were younger, they served her Mother's Day breakfast in bed: Tomato soup, coffee, burnt toast and "eggs that were broiled for a half-minute."

"I'd eat every bite of it," she said.

Then, on May 12, 2002, her oldest son, Brian Shaffer, 28, and his wife delivered Shaffer's first grandchild, Jesse.

The Mother's Day delivery was a surprise because Jesse wasn't due until June 1.

"When he was born I said, 'Wow, what a great Mother's Day present, what are you guys going to do to top it next year?,'" she said.

Her youngest son, Matthew Shaffer, 20, stepped up to the plate. A few months ago he announced that his first child was expected to arrive on Mother's Day this year.

Cathy Shaffer said she was pleasantly surprised, but "I thought well, what are the odds."

Her son called her to the hospital at 11:30 p.m. Saturday night. His wife Kara Shaffer had just gone into labor.

Cathy Shaffer spent the night at the hospital but didn't sleep. She paced. When Damien finally arrived, she said her husband and three sons cried. She smiled.

"I had a big smile on my face that you couldn't wipe off for nothin'," she said.

On this day, Shaffer had the same smile as she stood above Jesse and held onto his tiny hands. He's just starting to walk. He calls her "na na."

The grandchildren are a bonus for Cathy Shaffer, who said a tumor claimed one of her ovaries when she was 15 years old, and she was told she would not be able to have children.

She even warned her husband, Richard, before they got married almost 30 years ago that she could not get pregnant.

The doctors were wrong, and Cathy Shaffer recalls how her sons as children wrote 'I love you' on the hallway walls and brought her the tops of flowers, which she would float in a bowl of water.

"Once your kids grow up and you don't have kids around anymore it gets kind of lonely," she said.

Shaffer watches Jesse three days a week. She said when Kara Shaffer returns to work from maternity leave, she likely will start watching Damien, too.

She said she had a dream her other son Christopher Shaffer, 25, had triplets on Mother's Day next year. But she's not counting on it.

"If I'm there (at the hospital) next year, I'll be surprised," she said.

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