mine for five years : austen rose

Oh, my sweet, spunky, stubborn, sassy, serious, shy, and silly Austen Rose! You are radiant. You feel deeply, you laugh with gusto, everything you do, you do with a fullness. You color with every color, you sing with emotion and a story in your voice, and you twirl and dance like you were a little sprite in another life. Your smile takes up your whole face. And your face is always truthful.

You amaze me every day. You show me new things. I am constantly learning about you. You are layered and I have barely peeled away the surface. You are more than surface. Even I don't know what you are thinking half the time. I mean, I can guess... I think we share that inquisition, the quietness that hides the forceful winds which blow inside our heads. But it's only because you are a part of me that I know you as well as I do. I understand you, yet I don't. You don't always let me in. We are alike, you and me, yet we are separate. I need to remember that.

It's funny, but when you were teeny tiny, I thought we were very different; but as the years have gone on, I see we are actually very much alike. Musical and a head full of fantasy. Making up songs and playing for hours happily by yourself - alone, but not lonely. I see myself in all my children, but I see you from a closer perspective, especially now that you are older. And yet! You are a book and every moment is a new page. I can't read ahead and I can't guess what's next. You are surprise and delight. And you are sensitive and breakable. (Don't break, my dear! You are stronger than you believe yourself to be right now. Sweetheart, you are like Moana. You are brave and capable. You just need to believe it.)

You have a gentle, nurturing spirit that I've loved from the start. The sensitivity that you feel inside, you feel for others. You are keenly aware of how others feel. Often, when Chase gets hurt, I can see your whole face go blotchy red as you try to hold in your own tears. Sometimes you will come to me moments later and bury your face in my tummy and say, "When Chase cried, I wanted to cry. It made me sad." What a special gift! Not everyone can feel empathy as strongly as you, my sweet girl. 


Buy you are not all princesses and dresses and tiaras! Oh, no. You have plenty of the spice, as well. You aren't afraid to get dirty or climb a tree. And you are so goofy. People talk about boys and their bathroom humor, but I always tell them, "My son isn't the one who loves bathroom jokes -- it's my daughter!" I could end any sentence with the word butt or poop and you will be in fits of laughter. That is something I was definitely unprepared for! Your sense of humor comes out in the best of ways. You are the queen of dead pan and puns. I'm often impressed at your level of humor! About a year ago, you were carrying in a butternut squash for me and said, "This is heavy. I hope I don't drop it and... squash it!" Or the time you looked at me with the silliest face and said in the most serious voice, "Mama. When I squish my chin like this, it looks like a hamburger." Oh my. I was dying with laughter!! Yes, I love your sense of humor.

I hope the spunk and stubbornness you keep just for your family powers you through life. I hope you will learn to use the voice that I know says so much in your sweet little head and use it to inspire. I hope you grow to understand your worth, your brain and your intelligence, and all it can do for people. I hope you share your beautiful songs one day and touch hearts. I hope you create with abandon and make a reality to the fantasy that lives in your dreams. I hope you keep your sweetness and your empathy and don't let anyone tell you you are weak because of it. There is nothing ever wrong with being kind. Kindness is a quiet strength. You are so strong.

Happy birthday, my storm-and-sunshine, my kitten. My kiss fits perfectly in the bridge of your nose, and I love you more than my heart can bear.

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