Barstools, Dixie Chicks, and Instant Messenger: How I Met Your Daddy

{To My Littles}

The summer after my Freshman year of high school, a bunch of friends* and I went to a big party at a friend’s house.  We thought we were so cool. Truth is, we probably weren’t.  But oh well.  We did our hair, we put on our make-up, and we spent a couple hours picking out the “perfect outfit” (I can still remember what I wore that night, and let me tell you right now, it may show up on an episode of What Not to Wear one of these days…).  Our parents dropped us off (again, with the not cool), and we found a spot at the picnic table.  As I sat there with my friends, I saw a boy walk by that I didn’t recognize.  “Who is that?” I asked, giving him the once-over (and then giggling of course, because after all we were 15 years old).  “Seriously?” my friends all said in unison (because that’s what 15 year olds do), “that’s Matt Meehan!”.  I blushed.  “You mean that is the scrawny, long-haired kid we went to junior high with?”  Turns out, my friends were right, it was Matt Meehan.  He had grown about a foot, cut his hair (thank goodness), and put some meat on those bones.  It really was him.  And I was in love.

I proceeded to follow him around the party, attempting to hide the fact that I was shamelessly fighting for his attention.  We went inside to hang out around the pool table, and I saw him sitting at the bar (no worries, the parents were home and we were drinking POP, so no need for the negative comments on this post!).  I walked over, sat down on the barstool next to him, and said hi.  Oh, those barstools have become the butt of many a joke in the last 14 years, my little ones.  Where your mommy met your daddy.

He was so shy, and so cute, and he immediately started talking about how he was in driver’s ed and how he had his own car.  Those were some pretty powerful words at that time in a girl’s life.  He has a car AND he can drive it?  What a catch!  I can remember his smile in that basement full of high-schoolers as if it were yesterday.  I remember exchanging phone numbers (land-lines, of course) and screen names for AOL Instant Messenger**.  Again, with the coolness.

That summer and fall became a whirlwind of me falling in love with Matt and him probably hanging out with his friends and talking about cars.  By the time the school year came around, I couldn’t wait to see him every day.  One Friday night at the football game, he gave me his sweatshirt because I was cold.  I never wanted to take it off.  No really, I never wanted to take it off, my mom finally made me.  (Side note: I still keep this sweatshirt in my closet, and I pull it out and wear it sometimes.  Makes me smile every single time.)

After the sweatshirt gift, I knew that he would be mine.  I just knew it.  One afternoon, I was sitting around writing in my journal (not going to lie, I spent a lot of my time writing in my journal) and all of the sudden I got an IM (instant message, for you young ones) from none other than Matt.  I literally wrote in my journal “I have to go, Matt Meehan is messaging me right now!” I found that journal last year and I seriously laughed for five minutes.  Oh, but back to the story: not only was I sitting around waiting for him to message me, and writing in my journal, but I was also listening to the Dixie Chicks CD (compact disc, for you young ones).  Seriously.  How much more lame could I get?

I messaged Matt that I was just “chillin'” listening to Dixie Chicks, and he asked which song.  “Cowboy Take Me Away”, I replied.  Can I be your cowboy? he asked.  And that, my little sweethearts, was the beginning and the end for me.  I ran to my kitchen and told my mom that Matt Meehan had asked me to be his girlfriend.  We jumped up and down (what a good mom!) and then I ran back to my computer (and my journal of course).

matt collageYour daddy and I were the epitome of high-school sweethearts.  Going to all of the dances, me cheering him on as the captain of the swim team, tagging along on family vacations, and dreams of the future.  From that very first night on that barstool, I knew that Matt would be my husband someday.  Looking back, I can’t say for certain that he felt the same.  Although I knew he loved me, it’s highly unusual for a 16 year old boy to be thinking about marriage and babies.  But, by the time senior year rolled around and the days turned into college talk and future-planning, I knew that he felt the same.  As we sat next to each other in AP English that year, our teacher asked us to write down where we pictured ourselves in 5 years, and then 10 years.  For the 10 years, I remember exactly what I wrote:  I would be a Spanish teacher, married to Matt, with 3 or 4 kids by that time.  Seriously, I get goosebumps when I realize that this is exactly where we are, 10 years after graduation (well, 11 actually, but who’s counting…)

I left for college at the University of Iowa, and your daddy stayed in the Quad Cities.  We made many trips on I-80 to see each other, and it was on that stretch of highway where he turned to me and said “marry me” (yes, while driving!) with a ring box in his hand.  I never make that drive without thinking of that moment, and remembering how much my face hurt from smiling so hard at the anticipation of seeing the ring (I told him he had to get down on one knee, so we waited until we got to my apartment to open the box).  One month later, I left for a semester in Spain, also known as the longest 5 months of our lives.

mattcollage2On September 8, 2007 (9-8-7 so he would never forget our anniversary), we became husband and wife on the best day of my entire life (no offense to the three of you).  Every time that I’m having a bad day, I try to remember how perfect that day was, and how that choice, to marry that scrawny, long-haired boy from junior high, was the very best choice that I could have ever made.  That boy grew up to be the best husband in the entire world (if I do say so myself), and two short months after we said “I do”, I told him that our next chapter was beginning: he was going to be a daddy.  And again 21 months after that.  And again 26 months after that.  And yup, turns out he’s not only the best husband, but also the best daddy.  He is everything I ever wanted in my life, and he will without a doubt be everything that the three of you will ever need in a daddy, and more.  He is my cowboy, my best friend, my partner in crime, my favorite.

And that, my precious little ones, is how I met your daddy.


*One of those friends at the party that night just so happened to be miss Kaitlyn, my co-founder here at the Iowa City Moms Blog!

**Wondering what our screen names were? For an extra laugh, his was “suprturboO3” and mine was “justnlvr3” (as in, of course,  Justin Timberlake).



Sara and her husband Matt (sweethearts since they were just 16) got married in 2007, and since then have welcomed four beautiful children (Sam in 2008, Cooper in 2010, Nora in 2012, and Adam James in December 2015). A born-and-raised Iowan, Sara received both her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees (in Spanish Literature) from the University of Iowa. She's still teaching Spanish wherever and whenever she can, but her true passion is owning Iowa City Moms and building this community alongside her amazing team. Sara is also the Community Engagement Coordinator for City Mom Collective, and the owner of Cowork Collective downtown Iowa City. Common denominator in all of these jobs: community, community, community.


  1. I literally have tears in my eyes! Hahaha! This is adorable and I think it’s amazing you’ve loved eachother for so long! What an awesome story for your kids 🙂 and COnGrATS on baby #4 btw!!!!! So exciting!


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