austen rose : mine for six years

Dear Austen,

You are six years old! I distinctly remember turning six. It's the first birthday I actually remember, and for some reason, six felt so much bigger than any age I'd turned so far. I wonder if you're feeling those things, too. I wonder if, like your mama, you suddenly feel older and wiser and cooler because you are the magical age of six.

You are quiet and somber on the outside, but inside I believe there to be a world that flourishes and pulses with creativity and ideas. It's not a shame that to anyone who anyone who meets you, you are timid and careful... because to really know you is a privilege, and it's not one that many people can say they've acquired. To see the side of you that laughs so hard you can't even catch your breath. To hear the thoughts that brim to the surface of your pretty head (because they only spill out when there is no room for them anymore... most of your thoughts stay hidden, buried like treasure, and yes, they sparkle, too). To understand the part of you that loves so deeply that when your brother broke his Christmas ornament, or when your sister fell and hurt her knee, you cried for them. Because your heart is that deep of a well full of empathy for others.

What a sweet and troublesome gift you've been given, this empathy. It will follow you all your days, and others may not understand why you feel so deeply, but it is not for them to understand. And just as they don't understand, they also do not see the beauty that is this gift of empathy, but I do, my sweet little child. I know this is a gift given to few, and I know you will carry it well, and do wonderful things with it. It is given by God.

But sometimes, we are honored to catch a glimpse... your ideas trickle down to your fingers, and twirl around in the air as melodies played by piano keys, or around a pencil as you draw things I would have never thought of. Your art follows no rules, it just happens as it is. And I like to think that these things you create are reminiscent of what is going on inside you, just a glimpse of all the beauty and wonder and tangles of feelings.

Sweet girl, this part of you is so special and even though all the feelings you come wrapped up in are hard to hold for this weary mama, I hope you never change. I hope you use your emotions as a special strength. I know that people feel loved and cherished and understood by you. I hope they see the beauty that I see. I hope YOU see the beauty that I see. Someday, if anyone makes you feel wrong for having a heart full of empathy and understanding, I hope you will know, deep within yourself, that you are a gift and there is not one thing about you that should be changed.

I love you so much, my Austen Rosey Toesie Nosie Posey. I love your heart and your brain and your spirit. You are so special to me. Happy birthday.

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