Honestly, deep down I was hoping for a girl. I feel ashamed to admit it, but after bringing three wonderful, energetic, hyper, happy little fellas into this world, I had convinced myself that it was high time our house was adorned with a bit of pink. Some nights I was guilty of even slipping in my requests while I said my nightly prayers. “…and please,” I’d catch myself asking, “I promise I’ll teach her to be a good girl. She would have great older brothers to look after her, an amazing dad who would teach her what it meant to be a gentleman… Heavenly Father, I even know how to French braid hair! I’m just not so sure that I’m cut out for this all-boy gig. Please!” Not that I didn’t absolutely love my little guys. Another one would be loved and adored just as much. It was just…this was very possibly our last, and that meant no pink, no frilly dresses, no French braids or girl’s nights or dolls. I had decided what I thought was best for our growing family. But as so often goes, God had other plans.
I didn’t even cry. I honestly thought I would. As I processed the four-boy adventure in my mind and watched that little bundle wiggle on the ultrasound screen, I thought about the three I had at home and the liveliness and adventure they had brought to our family over the past six years. I thought about all the patches I’d be sewing onto their boy scout uniforms, the tractors and Legos and little toy cars that would forever be scattered across our floors, the bathrooms that I would constantly be cleaning because they never seem to aim quite right. And, I actually felt…relief. Four boys! Only crazy women and superheroes have four boys! Not what I had expected, not what I had planned, but just what was right. And that was ok.
Over the next few weeks we heard a lot of sympathy. “Oh, wow! Are you ok with that?” Or, “You poor thing. You’re so outnumbered!” We also heard plenty of encouragement. And, I admit, even though I had come to terms with being so outnumbered, even really excited about it, sometimes (as true as many of them were) these thoughts crossed my mind:
(disclaimer: we had to buy lots of new clothes after this middle guy because he’s so rough on them! So yes,we actually do have all the clothes we need)
“Hey Mom, someday I want to try pouring water into your blow dryer while it’s on. What do you think it would do then?”
…or maybe I’ll be worrying more if they DO steal my clothes.
Good thing because I’m pretty sure all our savings will be going toward stocking our pantry.
As I have gotten older I’ve learned the hard lesson that sometimes what we want and think is important for us doesn’t align with what we need or what is right. Our boys so desperately wanted a sister, and often I would find myself before we knew reminding them that God always hears our prayers, but sometimes he answers them in ways we don’t expect. Sometimes it isn’t what we want to hear, but it will always be what is best. I might have been reminding them for MY sake as much (or more) as theirs.
So, to all my sympathetic and encouraging friends, don’t worry. I’m completely thrilled to have FOUR crazy, wild, dirty, talkative, rambunctious little boys. I’ll learn to enjoy the quiet nights alone while they’re off on scouting adventures, I’ll find a better laundry stain remover, and I’ll accept the fact that sometimes I’ll feel like I’m living on a distant planet with a bunch of aliens. And I will love (most) every second of boyish mischief. A little girl would have been wonderful, but I trust that God knew what He was doing in sending me these four little fellas. I’ll trust that He sees something in me I can’t see in myself, and I’ll trust in Him to help me raise these boys to be good men. Because if there’s anything I’ve learned as a mom of these crazy guys, it’s that He knows best.