My little Lou Bear. I’ve written so little about you since your infanthood. You live the lot of the youngest child—no baby book, no professional photos, no long-winded blogs detailing your every milestone. You’ve survived your birth order (after all, you know nothing different) and somehow come to be six years old before us with vigor and zest, all simultaneously delicate and demanding.
Six has been a lesson in joy for me. And your mama needed that lesson, with you as my perfect pint-sized teacher. You’ve lived in your six years. You’ve lived through the height of our family’s fairy tale perfection, and you’ve lived through the low of your mama’s depression, substance abuse, and manic-depressive mood cycles. Only days before your last birthday you’re dad and I sat your sister down and (so prematurely) announced we were breaking up. We didn’t actually break up. But we drug you into our saga under the guise of transparency and truth. We rocked your world in the chaos on our own.
So you turned six in a sea of uncertainty. And you, my dear, have shone. You giggle and joke. You read and wonder. You are glued to your tablet and dearly devoted to the television. You’re the biggest fan of “alone screen time”, and whenever I worry about your media consumption I remind myself your dad was a media studies major and chalk it up to genetics. That or we’ve ruined you.
My favorite thing about you these days is how kind and caring you are. You seem to really get the world and empathy is more than second nature (is first nature a thing?). You ask me how my day was. You remember what’s going on in my world and check in accordingly. You care for the dogs like they were your babies. Okay, we all know they are. I hate to see your little heart break when you get too rough or forget to listen to their cues and one snaps at you. You fall to pieces when anyone you love hurts you.
You hate my humor. Every joke you take personally, as if I’m picking on you. You get defensive and sulky and scold me. You eat “noodles, butter and cheese” for dinner practically every night. Chips are your preferred food group. I’m obsessed with your front tooth gap. You wore boots every day well into July the year.
You love your nanny, but you adore your older sister. Perhaps the biggest bone of contention in our house is the lack of fairness to the sister-sleepover ratio. You don’t care that she didn’t have so many sleepovers in kindergarten. You only know that she does now.
Whenever you and your sister fight you both end up in tears. Not because you’re mad at each other, but because you both can’t stand to see the other one upset.
You, my sweet six-year-old, are the sunshine in all our lives. You are our littlest empath, our loudest conscious, our lived example of light and love. You are our joy and our gift. You completed our family six years ago, and you continue to fill our cracks in today.
Seven has it’s work cut out to beat these sweet summer days.