In a family of females – from the humans to the dogs to the horse – Shawn McGarry calls himself “The Lone Rooster.”
“Shawn is the only reliable, steady man we’ve been able to count on in our lives,” said his wife Kaleena. “He has been an intricate part of our evolution as a family, and has been the cornerstone of healing for me as well as my mom and sister.”
Shawn, Kaleena and six-year-old Katiyanna are a tight-knit family of three. They do just about everything together, and they are also part of an extended family on Orcas they call their “clan.”
“I didn’t grow up with a dad but my uncle Chuck Silva and the whole island helped shape me,” said Shawn. “My way to give back is to be there for my daughter and everyone in her life.”
Shawn and Kaleena began dating in 2006 and were married on their front lawn in 2010 when Kaleena was six months pregnant.
“I’m sure Kati heard every bit of it,” laughed Shawn.
One of their cherished memories is the birth of their daughter. Kaleena was in labor for 45 hours, the majority of which was without an epidural. Katiyanna finally entered the world after an emergency c-section. It was a harrowing and immensely gratifying experience.
“What’s really surprised me about being a dad is that for kids all that matters to them is right now, right here,” said Shawn. “They live in the moment and are joyous and innocent.”
Being parents has strengthened Shawn and Kaleena’s relationship and made them “work harder” as a team.
“We’re a very forward-moving, active couple – emotionally, spiritually and intellectually,” said Kaleena. “We’re always trying to improve ourselves and find our true, authentic life.”
In May, the McGarry family – along with Kaleena’s mom Misty – participated in the Rock of Orcas production at Orcas Center. It was a major bonding experience for them and it took Shawn, who hasn’t been on stage before, way out of his comfort zone.
“I did it for Kaleena and Kati at first but then it opened me up to grow,” he said. “I’m always working and providing for my family so it was great to let loose.”
During the summer, they go camping every other weekend all over Washington state. Their favorite spots are the Olympic Peninsula and Cascade Mountains.
“She needs to have a strong connection with nature and be able to explore and find new things,” said Shawn. “The best thing about nature is that it’s constantly changing.”
Last summer, he and Katiyanna walked up to Harts Pass, which has an elevation of 6,100 feet and expansive views of the Olympics.
“We were on top of the world together,” said Shawn.
What he loves most about his daughter is that she is creative, compassionate and crafty. Katiyanna says she enjoys doing jigsaw puzzles with her dad, riding on his shoulders and playing games.
“She is a mirror so she shows me what I need to do work on and also my strengths,” said Shawn.
Added Kaleena: “Since the birth of Katiyanna, I have seen a lot more self-awareness and accountability from him.”