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What I Wanted vs. What I Needed

I always knew I wanted kids. I think it’s safe to say that a lot of little girls dream about falling in love, marrying their prince charming, and then one day having babies together. Maybe you didn’t, but I know I sure did. When I finally found my prince charming, we began to have the “normal” dating conversations: How old do you want to be when you get married? (You do want to get married, right?) What month do you want to get married in? Do you want kids? How many kids do you want to have? What names do you like? How many years apart do you want your kids to be? I’m quite positive that in most cases the woman already knows (in detail) her answers to each of those questions. I absolutely had all of my answers ready. 

  • Yes I want to get married (otherwise I would not have started dating you). 
  • 22. My ideal age for getting married was 22, and I have absolutely no idea why. 
  • I wanted to get married sometime in the spring. 
  • YES. YES. YES. I want babies. All the babies. Four to be exact (an even number makes the most “sense.”) 
  • I think staggering them about two years apart would be perfect. And I absolutely want a little girl-two girls and two boys would be ideal. 
  • I had names picked out, a list probably a mile long. I’ll spare you that list.

So, here I am. Happily married to my prince charming for almost eight years. I got married on May 16, 2009, one month before I turned 23. So far, so good. The first three items on my list happened just as I wanted and always hoped it would. 

Babies. Oh how I wanted babies. I’ll never forget how excited I was that first time I saw those two pink lines on a pregnancy test. There was never a question about whether or not we would find out the sex of our baby. With my first pregnancy our ultrasound showed us a BOY! I was excited, I really was. I knew I still wanted a little girl, but we planned on having more babies so there was bound to be a girl in there somewhere. London Starr was born in October. Remember our plan to wait about two years and then have a second baby? Well, this is when things go a little crazy. Just a few days after London turned six months old, I was greeted again by those two pink lines, only this time I was a bit more terrified than I was excited. 

Of course we were going to find out the sex of this baby. Since I already had my baby boy, I was more hopeful than ever that this ultrasound would show us our baby girl! 

In January of 2013, our second baby boy, Reece Justin was born. To be honest, much of his baby days are a blur. Having a newborn and a 14-month-old was A LOT. In June, I pushed the pause button on my teaching career and started my new job as a stay-at-home-mom. My hands were definitely full during that first year of being at home. I don’t remember a lot of what we did, but we did stuff and we survived. 

Since my dreams of having a baby girl had yet to be fulfilled and we were only half way to our magic number of four children, it was inevitable that we would try again to get pregnant. Again, we did not go by our two year rule and I got pregnant with our third baby when Reece was around a year and a half old. When it was time for that third gender reveal ultrasound, my head was ready for our baby to be a boy, but my heart really wasn’t. As convinced as I was that we would be bringing another precious boy into the world, I wasn’t prepared for the amount of disappointment I’d feel when the ultrasound tech revealed that tiny little “boy part.” 

Let’s fast forward a bit to 2017. I am a mom to three little boys: London age 5, Reece age 4, and Jackson age 22 months. 

THREE BOYS. 

It seems like before we ever brought Jackson home from the hospital “the question” was being asked from friends, family members, and even perfect strangers. “So, are you going to try for a girl?” Truth be told, that question didn’t always bother me. In fact, I had asked myself that same question many times. {Side story: When I went in to have my IUD removed so we could begin trying to pregnant that third time, my Dr. looked at me-knowing I already had two little boys-and asked, “Do you want to know how to get pregnant with a girl?” “Ummmm YES PLEASE,” I said. He looked and me, paused and said, “I have no clue.” Gee, way to get a girl’s hopes up Doc!

I had had dreams of having a little brown-haired, brown-eyed “mini me” for as long as I can remember. I would get to dress her up in the cutest girly outfits I could get my hands on. I would fix her hair all kinds of cute ways. I would paint her tiny fingers and toes in the prettiest pink nail polish. We would spend morning’s shopping, I’d take her to Starbucks, we would play with Barbies and baby dolls. I had ideas upon ideas of things that “we” (me and my imaginary little girl) would do together. I wanted it so badly. 

It’s taken quite a while, but I have since learned that getting what I want isn’t always what I need. I am a firm believer that God knows exactly what we need and when we need it. 

I wanted my kids spaced out a little more than they are, I wanted an even number of kids and I really wanted a little girl. Friends, I am here to tell you that I am so grateful that I did not get what I wanted, because goodness I need these three precious boys.

I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes thinking of all that they have taught me over these past five years of being a mother. They have taught me that it’s okay to get filthy dirty. They have taught me that burps and farts CAN in fact be funny and it’s okay to lighten up and giggle a little. They have taught me how to play with Legos and Pokemon cards…something I never would have thought I’d be doing. These three have shown me a love that is not measured by how clean our house is, how perfect my hair and makeup look, how skinny or fit I am, how delicious our dinner tastes, or how successful I am at whatever task I may be facing. They still want to cuddle up next to me even after I have lost my temper at them. They aren’t keeping track of all of the countless mothering mistakes I make. They love me more than I could have ever imagined three little humans could love and oh, how I love them. 

Everything I ever thought I would do with a daughter, I have done with my three sons. I’ve dressed them in cute (matching) outfits, I’ve taken them each on dates to Starbucks and shopping trips. I’ve even painted their toenails a time or two upon their request. 

God has used London, Reece, and Jackson to grow me, challenge me, teach me, and satisfy me. I no longer feel the want to try one more time for that even number or for the chance to have a little girl. I know in my heart that our family is exactly where we need to be. 

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4 Responses to What I Wanted vs. What I Needed

  1. Dee Slagle March 27, 2017 at 7:14 am #

    Meredith this was an Awesome read. And knowing me I was probably one of those who asked you were you going to try for a girl. But just like your Mom with 3 girls she has you girls to pick out her boys for her. So you three girls are helping fulfill your Dad and Moms dream of a boy.(so far so good). So in days ahead if that little girl doesn’t appear just think you have 3 boys who will bring you 3 girls to love and who knows about your grandgirls. Those girls will come,maybe they want grow under your heart but I bet they will grow in it.
    I love you,Aunt Dee

  2. Lauren Corbett
    Lauren Corbett March 27, 2017 at 11:39 am #

    Lovely article. I agree that we get exactly what is right for us, even if it’s not exactly what we thought we wanted. And boys are amazing! (girls are too!) but boys . . . they are so sweet and loving.

  3. Margaret Anne Rhodes March 27, 2017 at 12:24 pm #

    Meredith, you have written an amazing story about a wonderful journey with God and your family. I enjoyed reading it. It made me think about my three sons, Before the third one was born, my mom had already bought a doll for the new baby. I have 3 sons and 2 daughter-in-laws to love plus 5 grandsons, one granddaughter and now 1 great granddaughter. Life is good! Charleston is an amazing city. I’m so glad you have this great family. Anne Rhodes

  4. Anne March 28, 2017 at 8:09 pm #

    Meredith, thank you so much for your vulnerability and authenticity in this article. Not only are you a very gifted writer, but you truly have everything you need. My boys have taught me so much over the years and given me so much more grace for their Dad. I have an understanding of boys and men I’d never have had if I hadn’t had a passel of them.