Sheridan couple delivers first baby 2021

M.P. Regan
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Baby makes three

Parents Raeanne Bendon and Tyler Flanagin flank their new baby Kadence Leigh Anne Flanagin, the first baby born in Dillon in 2021. M.P. Regan photo

A romance that began with a box of cherry tomatoes bore far greater fruit last week.

Raeanne Bendon and Tyler Flanagin welcomed daughter Kadence Leigh Anne Flanagin to their family with their baby’s birth last Wednesday at Barrett Hospital & Healthcare in Dillon.

Though it happened nearly a week after the start of the year, Kadence’s arrival on Jan. 6 came just in time to earn her the distinction as the first baby born locally in 2021, along with a bassinet full of special gifts, including:

*newborn diapers from Town & Country Foods in Dillon;

*a baby gift from Barrett Hospital & Healthcare;

*a gift certificate from the Bank of Commerce in downtown Dillon;

*four lattes from Sweetwater Coffee in downtown Dillon;

*a baby gift from The Gallery in downtown Dillon;

*a baby gift from the 3-D Store in downtown Dillon;

*a baby gift from Pioneer Federal Savings & Loan in downtown Dillon;

*a one-year subscription to the Dillon Tribune.

“By day five, I really didn’t think she’d be the first new year’s baby,” said Tyler of Kadence, who moved in with her parents in Sheridan after her birth and brief stay at Barrett Hospital.

“She’s doing well,” said Raeanne of her healthy baby, who came into the world weighing seven pounds and one ounce.

“She seems very aware. She’s constantly looking around. It never ends. She’s just always checking stuff out,” reported the proud father.

“We’ve even gotten a couple of smiles,” added the mom of the baby they chose to call Kadence.

“We just liked the name—and it kinda went back to how things went when we first met,” recalled Raeanne of the smooth transition she and Tyler enjoyed from being acquaintances into becoming a couple.

“We just felt really good about each other,” continued Raeanne.

The pair met in Sheridan, where Raeanne has lived since she was in second grade. Before moving to Sheridan, Tyler would come there to visit relatives living there from his former home in California, where he lived with his mom for 16 years and worked as a martial arts instructor.

“He would come to visit here once in awhile, so I would see him then. We kind of knew each other,” said Raeanne.

Then came a fortuitous and unlikely shopping transaction that played a big role in helping the pair get to know each other better.

“We were in the grocery store one day in Sheridan. I had gone there to grab a soda or something small,” recalled Tyler of the turning point in his interactions with Raeanne.

“She walked up behind me to the register with a thing of cherry tomatoes. And one of the cashiers said jokingly to me, ‘This, too?’ So, I said, ‘Sure, throw it on my bill.’ I paid for it. That’s kind of how we got talking. It was a ‘cherry tomato romance,” laughed Tyler.

“I don’t know what his thought process was. He’s kind of a jokester,” said Tyler of the matchmaking grocery cashier.

“But he was kind of the one who brought us together, I suppose you could say,” remembered Tyler.

“After that, we started hanging out every day,” noted Raeanne, who said a shared interest in music helped strengthen the bond between the pair.

“We both play guitar, so we were hanging out playing music. And it just seemed like everything clicked,” said Raeanne of the musical guitar duets that did not include vocals.

“I’d shatter windows if I started singing,” joked Tyler.

“We saw each other about a month and a half before we realized it was serious,” added Tyler, who said their new baby also seems to love music.

Tyler has taken charge of communicating the latest news on the baby with all of the couple’s immediate family members—a crew that includes both their parents, along with Raeanne’s three brothers and Tyler’s three brothers and four sisters.

“Everybody is super pumped,” said Tyler, who often sends photos of Kadence out with regular texts on the baby’s progress.

“My mom wants morning pictures, afternoon pictures and evening pictures--every single day,” smiled Tyler.

“My mom was in pure joy when I told her,” said Raeanne of her breaking the big news about the baby to her mom, who has moved in with her and Tyler to help with Kadence.

’’That has been a huge help. We can even get some sleep,” said Tyler of the critical aide Raeanne’s mother is providing.

“It’s her first grandkid. She has been waiting her whole life for it,” said Raeanne of her mom, a school teacher in Sheridan.

Both Raeanne and Tyler work at the mine in Alder.

“I’ve been there for about three months now,” said Raeanne, who is currently on maternity leave.

Tyler is in his second of two stints at the mine, with a seven-month interval working in the oil fields of North Dakota between them.

With a new baby and Raeanne and all the other benefits of living in the Ruby Valley, Tyler plans on staying.

“I’m not going anywhere. I love the valley. I don’t think I could live anywhere else now, to be honest,” said Tyler, who likes camping, hiking, fishing and shooting with Raeanne—even if she does use most of the ammo when they go to the range.

“I could live here my whole life and be perfectly content,” said Tyler, who has now been with Raeanne for around a year and a half.

“It’s been a crazy year and a half,” smiled Raeanne of a relatively brief interval that shuttled the pair from being distant acquaintances to life as young parents.

“It’s been a crazy year for sure,” agreed Tyler. “Action packed.”