Letter to Camille: 94 Months
Hello sweet 94-month old girl! Once you get into the triple digits, will it be ridiculous for me to celebrate each month as it passes? If so, too bad. As long as you don’t mind the letters, I plan to keep them coming for a while.
This month was a bit of a mixed bag, as life can often be. It began with the passing of your guinea pig, and then there was the incident with Maple, and then the school talent show…
Truthfully, the incident with Maple was really no big deal, except that I think you lost some of that invincibility you feel around animals. This change was bound to happen as you got older. Maple is an adorable little pony at your riding barn who quickly became your favorite.
Maple is sweet, but can be a bit skittish. During a lesson last month she gave an unexpected hop in one direction, and you went the other direction, down into the dirt. It happened just a few minutes after I snapped this picture.
The only thing hurt were your feelings, thankfully, and your tears were more about frustration than pain. You never seemed to think it was possible that you’d fall from a horse, and you didn’t like being proven wrong. It’s a rite of passage for all equestrians, but not a particularly fun one.
I was proud of you though. You dusted off, wiped the tears and got right back on Maple, and took another lap or two around the ring. You did some growing up that day.
But your lessons in maturity weren’t over for the month.
For more than a year, you’d been plotting your audition for the school talent show. This was the first year you’d be old enough to audition, and you decided to enter as a violist. You’ve been enjoying your instrument, especially playing songs with Daddy accompanying you on guitar.
You practiced your song diligently (Beautiful Skies viola solo by Mark O’Connor), and showed no hint of nerves on the day of auditions. I was prepared to come to school for your audition, to help you tune the instrument and warm up, but you seemed so confident that I decided my presence might only make you nervous. You are a big girl and you can handle yourself.
You reported that the audition went well. But a week later, when yellow slips were handed out in each classroom congratulating those who’d passed the audition, you were heartbroken that there was no yellow slip for you.
I was heartbroken too. I was in Seattle, and could only connect with you via FaceTime. I’ll never forget standing in the parking garage of the airport, watching you on my little phone screen as you sobbed and told me the news.
Your Daddy and I think you are marvelous, and we’re always telling you so. But it’s such a hard, hard lesson to learn that the rest of the world doesn’t always think you’re the best one in the room. That your mama and daddy might be biased. That you can’t always win.
I worried that the disappointment might make you resent your instrument, but was pleased a few days later when you were already talking about what song you might play for next year’s audition. Just like with Maple, I was proud of you for picking yourself up out of the dirt and your willingness to take another lap.
But for all the difficulties of the last month, there were also shining moments. Among the top – you completed your very first 5K race.
We meant to train for it, but then life happened and suddenly we were at the starting line. Your longest run up to that point had been 1.5 miles.
When the race began, you took off at a sprint and I struggled to keep up with you. The whole time I was thinking, “You better slow down – three miles is a long way to go!”
But I imagine that is the way of many 7-year-old runners. We walked. We sprinted. We walked some more. You were pushing strong through about 2 miles, but that last mile was a tough one. We threw in a bunch of extra walk breaks, but as we neared the stadium and the cheering crowd, you felt that wonderful end-of-race kick that I often feel too. You found new energy reserves and took off around the track, zooming under the finish line arch.
I was very proud of you for sticking with the race even when it became difficult. The race was yet another lesson in maturity this month – a lesson about determination and commitment to a goal. You sure earned that pretty medal around your neck.
I know this month won’t go down as your favorite, but I do believe these difficulties will make you even stronger. You’ve shown yourself that you can fall down, but that you can also get up again, and this will serve you well in life. And no matter what obstacles are in your path, your Mommy and Daddy will always be your biggest fans. We love you so much.