mine for three years : austen rose

My little Rosey, you are three. Can you believe it? I almost can't. Your three seems so much younger than your brother's three. They say the oldest kid seems so much older, and it's true. I look at you, and you're still my baby girl.

This summer we visited a rose garden, and as we walked around and sniffed the yellow roses, pink roses, purple roses, I told you I named you after this flower. And you ran around the garden shouting, "Rose, just like me! Rose! Just like me!" You are my little flower.

It's so easy to watch you and be in love. The way you dance dramatically around the living room, arms and legs flailing and your eyes half-closed, feeling the music. Or how you furrow your brow in concentration as you color in a very particular manner, colors chosen just so, a work of art being created just as you envision. And how you set up your blocks, choosing every color, balancing and placing in the perfect places. You are so careful, so cautious, so driven.

Every day I'm awed by you. You have an impressive amount of patience as you push yourself to do things -- two things I have not found easy in life. I don't want to break that spirit by telling you to hurry up, or "just let Mommy do it" if you're struggling. I hope your confidence and drive only grows. You will need it, little girl. In a world where women are expected to submit, keep quiet, apologize, and put appearance and femininity before standing up for what you believe in, standing up for others, and being who you are underneath the color of your hair and the clothes you wear -- you will need it. I only hope I can help guide you to that place where you feel free to use it. Right now, you certainly do.

Right now, you believe yourself to be "Superhero Princess Majesty." You look in the mirror as you brush your hair, and then ask with all the confidence in the world, "Mama, isn't I bootiful?" Yes, you are. Always, my Sweet Pie. You keep trying when something is hard, and you never fail, because you tried. And trying isn't failing. "Mama, isn't I strong?" Always, my Love! You readily jump up to help. You help put the towels away, you fetch a burp cloth for your little sister, you sweep the kitchen, you clean up your crayons. "Mama, isn't I helpful?" You have the most helpful heart of anyone I know, the helpful heart your daddy possesses -- you must have gotten it from him. I call you my Helper Girl.

I have to admit something. One year ago, I wondered if I could even be successful at this honorable job God chose for me, the job of being your mommy. You are so intense, so fiery, so special, that sometimes I wavered in my choices for you, in how I handled your emotions and your strong will and your spunk. I did not feel strong, and I didn't know what I was doing. I questioned myself a lot during your second year of life. But then this wonderful thing happened during your third year -- by following my heart and following you, we made it out, unscathed. Instead of disciplining you and speaking harshly, I loved you, I let you melt into me, I felt for you when you were deeply feeling, and we found a place of such peace. That's not to say I didn't make mistakes. But terrible twos didn't really set foot in this household. And it's given me a pretty positive outlook at three.

I love you my baby girl. I've so enjoyed watching you grow and change and become your own little person. Being your mommy gives me new joy and excitement every day. Happy birthday, Austen Rose. I love you with all my heart.

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