There is beauty in having a big family.
Beauty that I never knew was possible before, when I was caught up in how many children I thought I wanted, or how much money I thought I needed, or how many fashionable clothes hung on hangers in my closet, each outfit with a pair of shoes to match.
Yes, there is beauty. Unimaginable beauty in having no spare time to do what I want to do, no spare money to buy what I want to buy, and almost no idea of what I even would buy if I was given the chance because I'm so totally wrapped up in living for other people instead of myself.
I have always been a selfish person.
I've done what I wanted to do.
I haven't done what I haven't felt like doing.
I've said what I wanted to say.
I've gone where I wanted to go, and bought what I wanted to buy.
I've lived my life how I felt like living it, and not for other people.
I am rarely given the chance to be selfish anymore.
And this is beautiful.
Don't look down on me because I have a big family.
I am blessed more abundantly than anyone I know.
Don't pity me because I'm overrun night and day by people who need me, or because I rarely have a few moments off.
I have grown more from serving my children than I ever could have grown from "me-time".
Don't judge me poorly because I've chosen to give up my freedom for these children, some broken, some healing, and some totally naïve about the pains of the world.
There is beauty in giving up your dreams, your desires, your freedom, your fancy vacations, your extra spending money, whatever it may be, and in living your life daily for others who depend on you.
There is beauty in waking up one day and realizing that their dreams and desires have become your dreams and desires, too.
And then it hits you.
You're not nearly as selfish as you used to be.
I have a beautiful life.
photography by Andrew Bowser