A half-dozen months ago or so, a sweet friend posted her pregnancy announcement photo on social media. The family already knew they were having a girl, so they introduced “her” to the rest of the world via ultrasound photo. I was thrilled to comment and read others’ “congratulations” as well, on their precious new addition, who would be joining big brother in the summer. As I was scrolling down to type in my own personal thoughts of joy and encouragement, one comment stood out above all others. Twelve simple words:
“Congratulations! Now you have the perfect family, a boy and a girl!”
To be quite honest, beautiful souls, my heart definitely felt a little “sting” upon letting those words soak into my momma-of-three-little-girls mind. While this amazing lady who wrote those words is also someone I admire dearly, the remark was one that I would not soon forget.
Fast forward five months later. Out-and-about on a weekly midday grocery store run with the girls. I noticed a mother of three young boys struggling to get through the store and leave with everything she needed, while balancing her playful babes. Two in the cart, and one following along. We smiled in passing. She complimented the girls on their behavior (must have missed the tearing down empty toilet paper aisle!!), and I reminded the girls of their manners, to which they responded “thank you”.
As I was loading the dozen or so bags in the car, while struggling with getting Baby Nugget settled down in her car seat, I saw my “new friend” again. She stopped her overflowing cart next to my van and sparked up another small-talk conversation…
“You know, I have noticed a lot of families now with children all of the same gender. It’s kind of refreshing to see! We always wanted a girl, but ha, you know…” jetting her eyes back toward her three sweet red-headed boys. I laughed, all while thinking of the precious new life inside of me…already convinced we would be welcoming baby girl number four into our family after the New Year. I didn’t really have a doubt in my mind, and that was fine by me.
Although our paths will most likely never cross again, I would love to thank her for that meaningful interaction. Short and sweet. But incredibly impactful. Leaving this mama’s soul refreshed and in a good place.
Sure enough, just a few weeks later, our suspicions were confirmed, and we found out that we would indeed be welcoming yet another girl into our family. And then the hesitation set it. I was thrilled. Expected it and completely enthralled. I could just picture the princess adventures, the clothes sharing, sports’ team excursions, prom-dress shopping, college-break visits…(and of course, the arguing, the boys, the drama, but that’s just life)…my mind was whirling. But still, something inside was holding me back from sharing this excitement with the world.
I could just hear the comments…
“Oh, poor daddy! FOUR girls!”
“Your poor husband! He better get started on that man cave ASAP!!”
I had no room in my heart for these comments at the time. I knew people would only have good intentions, but this was destined to be another step in growing our “perfect family”, and the concern over what others might think was casting a shadow out of which I could not step away. So, I waited. We, of course, had already told close friends and family. And continued to add to that list as we saw people out-and-about. Although my husbands’ closest friends naturally gave him some grief (of course…it just wouldn’t be the same if not!!), everyone else was beyond sweet.
And so my courage grew. And the thought of a super-fun announcement photo, came into play. And into reality. And at just over 22 weeks pregnant, we finally “officially” shared our news. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I braced myself for what might come our way.
Yet, I was pleasantly surprised. Happiness flowed in, and the sting that had once tainted my heart slowly began to fade. Words inundated my mind and soul, and I knew this journey and thought-process was something God intended for me to share with others.
Our six year old? She has it all figured out. Better than anyone else could imagine. And her precious words overflowed every ounce of my being when she explained it:
“You get the family you are supposed to get. If you have a baby, God will give you who you are supposed to have in your family. God gives you the family He wants you to have.”
Leave it to a precious, innocent child to shed the best perspective possible. And she could not be more correct.
Determining the “perfect family” is like one of those crazy high school math puzzles. You know, the ones where you have to figure out all the possible combinations. Of lunch choices. Or teams who will play each other in a sports season. They took the entire math period to figure out, but once you did, you felt amazing.
Well, sweet souls, this is one puzzle that will n.e.v.e.r. be solved. Because there are just too many possibilities. Infinite. Just the way God would want…
Maybe your “perfect family” is indeed one boy and one girl. Or could it be three girls and two boys? What about a husband, wife and three dogs, because children are not choice. Maybe it is one precious and beautiful sweetie that you and your partner prayed for, for years-and-years-and-years. Perhaps you have four cherished little angel babies in heaven, watching over you closely, while several sweet voices still bless your home with joy and laughter. Or maybe, as in our neighbors’ case, three biological children and three beautiful, bouncing boys adopted from halfway across the world! Perhaps two broken families blended into one mended one. The possibilities are e.n.d.l.e.s.s.
And that’s just the way it’s supposed to be.
A few weeks ago, I went to the eye doctor, after talking with my OB, for some consistent headaches. All behind my eyes. I was nervous. And the anxiety had flooded in. Before the exam ever began, she took six or seven minutes to just talk. She asked about the girls. Commented on my belly. And asked if we knew what we were having this time. I laughed (always try to make light of my response, in case someone does have a little joke to share), and I told her baby girl number four. She had four little ones herself. Three girls, and a boy, who was sandwiched in between. She talked about how he was heartbroken when the youngest was born (they didn’t find out), because it was in fact another girl.
The conversation was full of laughs. Definitely intended to lighten my heart.
And then she said the most comforting words in the world. They could not have been more perfect:
“Well, she is supposed to be in your family for a reason. She will have her very own special purpose, and before long, you will know.”
So. completely. true.
Miss Observant? The answer to many, many prayers after quite some time.
Monkey? A quick surprise after anxiety about another long wait, who brings so much sweetness and life to our house.
Baby Nugget? Although anticipated to come almost a month early, she arrived at the most perfect time. Just days after a horrible event hit our family hard.
Baby Girl #4? To be determined.
Each of us has precious, i.c.r.e.d.i.b.l.e. purpose in this world. Each of us belongs to some kind of family. Whether it be comprised of a huge lineage. Or simply surrounded by friends.
In the words of our six-year-old sweetie: “God gives you the family He wants you to have.”
And for our “perfect family”, God has added yet another treasured baby girl.
The only thing needed to create the “perfect family”?
Love for your significant other. Love for your children. Love for your pets. Love for your friends.
He will take care of the rest.
Because although of course it would be such a blessing to add a little boy to our family, we know that God’s plans are far superior to any blueprints that we could lay out for ourselves. Something so hard for us to remember at times. Just rest your heart on knowing…He’s got this. He’s got me covered. He knows what’s best. At all times.