The nurse walked into my hospital room and asked if I needed help breastfeeding. I told her I was okay and that I’ve done it before, and she quickly asked, “Oh, is this your second baby?”
I smiled and told her it was my fourth.
“Four? Wow. You look calm for a mom of four! What inspired you to keep going?”
I thought for a moment before responding (happily, because she was right ― it’s unusual to go beyond two or three in most households). I was instantly filled with about a thousand thoughts of why.
I am never going to be a famous artist like Rembrandt, Picasso or Monet. I will likely never be Beethoven, Beyonce or any other major musical force (truthfully I don’t know that I even sing ‘Twinkle, Twinkle’ all that well). There’s also a good chance that while I love to write, I will never win a Pulitzer or a Nobel Prize of any sort... but I do choose to paint the world with something the senses can’t see or touch or feel or hear.
Each of my kids came from a partnership with the universe (if you’re spiritual you can put a different label on it) that provides a love-high like no other. You enter into the partnership blindly ― you never know what you’ll get, and agree to love and cherish whatever comes out (biologically or not) unconditionally. And then you grow, and learn and change every single day to match them, and all of it takes a huge amount of faith. Faith in yourself (because a lot of days are hard), faith in whatever is beyond us physically (because whether you call it God or chance, we’re simply not in control of the type of child the universe sends us), and then an additonally significant amount of faith in the rest of humanity to treat that special soul with the level of love and respect we’d hope for.
I’m pretty sure that faith gets directly transferred to the kids we raise and nurture, and it’s only strengthened by the love we show and lead them with. With words, encouragement, hugs, kisses, high fives, meals, hard lessons, example and friendship. So I’m using my kids as my paintbrushes for the masterpiece I plan to leave behind on this earth many, many, many years from now: A better place for the generations who may never know my name. I’d like to think that all the love and goodness I pour into these children won’t ever evaporate or dissipate ― that they’ll one day see the investment I made in them and choose to keep banking and growing it with each person they meet and child of their own, sort of like that basic physics lesson from back in school that taught energy is neither created nor destroyed, but transferred.
So that’s why I keep having kids beyond what’s easy, cheap or convenient, and may continue to do so in the future if the universe wants to keep our partnership going, my body agrees and there’s more love left in my soul (but I’m pretty sure that amount is limitless and self-replenishing).
My wish today is that everyone paints the world with goodness in the way their soul knows how ― with friendship, acts of giving, parenting or whatever other gift they were born with.