Letter to Camille: 124 Months

Hello sweet girl and Happy 124 Months to you! Right now you are in bed, feeling deflated and sad because you have to take a holiday break from your youth orchestra group.

Today was your fall concert, and your group played beautifully. We showered you with flowers and goodies after your performance, but once the post-concert euphoria faded, you were depressed.


It’s not as though orchestra is over. The group just takes a reasonable break until after Christmas. I’d like to pretend the only reason you’re sad is because you love playing your instrument THAT MUCH. And while that’s part of it, I think your gloominess has more to do with missing a certain fellow musician, a handsome boy … but that’s all I’ll say, because I’m so glad you confide in me and I promise to keep your secrets.

I assured you the next month would fly by, as holidays often do. You shook your head in disagreement, but I know I’m right. I love the fall-to-winter holidays, starting with Halloween and building through Christmas. One of our favorite traditions is the annual BooFest at Boo’s house, which we missed last year. I remember feeling terribly homesick the day BooFest was happening without us, so this year it felt good to be back with the family for games, food and fun.

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For Halloween, you revived your prototype Boba Fett costume for a spin around the neighborhood with best buddies.


I love this picture of you and Lola (who was raining cats and dogs). You are dressed as a fierce bounty hunter, but something about the delicate way you’re standing belies the tender heart underneath all that armor.


But the past month hasn’t been just a string of celebrations. We were dealt a major disappointment, too. I sit here hesitating to write this to you, because I know this is a public space. And over the last few weeks my public spaces have seemed so unfriendly. But ultimately this is my letter to you, and there’s something I want to tell you.

On November 8th, a bully won the US Presidential election. Just a couple of weeks earlier you had a chance to cast a vote in a mock election at school. We’d discussed the campaign and the candidates, and you were proud to check the box for Hillary Clinton and thrilled that she won your school.


The night of the actual election, you were already asleep in bed as I watched Trump pick up state after state. I dreaded the idea of waking you in the morning with the news. Throughout the campaign you’d asked us why we liked one candidate and not another. We’d talked at length about our concerns about Trump’s politics, but more specifically his behavior and that of his supporters. He behaved in a way that reminded me of a schoolyard bully – the very kind of person we urged you to avoid and prayed you’d never become.

And he won the election. I wasn’t upset to tell you that our candidate lost – that happens and losing is part of life. But I was sad to tell you that America had sided with the bullies.

The next morning I crawled under the covers with you. You rolled over and looked at me, sleepy but expectant. “Trump won, sweetie,” I said.

You buried your head back in the pillow, and then asked if we could move to Germany.

And there are plenty of times when that does seem like a good idea – to take our ball and go home. But that’s not what I think a responsible American should do. I’m not sure how this next administration will treat our friends – people who worship differently than we do, whose marriages look different than ours, whose skin is darker, who are women like us – but I know that now is not the time to leave the playground. Now is the time to stand up to the schoolyard bully and surround our friends with love.

As your mother, I know how important it is to be a good role model for you. I’m grateful that no matter who is in the White House, you will be shaped far more by the people in your house. And I’m determined that you will see me treating people with respect and with love.

I also take heart in the knowledge that in just 8 years, you’ll be able to vote. I don’t know if you’ll be a democrat or a republican or something else entirely, but I feel confident your vote will come from a place of love and not hate. And that gives me hope.

I love you so much sweet girl. Always, no matter what.