Letter to Camille: 71 Months

71 MonthsHappy 71 Months sweet girl, and happy summer! We are two weeks into your summer vacation – the sun is baking hot, the cicadas are humming and we’re spending as much time as possible in the water. Pretty perfect so far.

This month you wrapped up your kindergarten school year, and on that last day of school, we met buddies for a celebratory frozen treat. This has become something of a tradition – on the first and last day of pre-K, we met up with some of these same friends, and on the first day of kindergarten as well. Just typing that makes me want to see the pictures and see how you’ve grown – so here they are.

First day of Pre-K:

Pre-K First Day Ice CreamLast day of Pre-K:

Last Day of Pre-K Ice CreamFirst day of Kindergarten:

First Day of Kindergarten Ice CreamLast day of Kindergarten:

Last Day of Kindergarten FroYoIf there is such a thing as nostalgia for the future, a nostalgia for things that have yet to happen, then I feel that thing when I see you with these girls. You became friends just before your pre-k year, and despite the fact that you moved to a new school, you have remained friends. I like to imagine that you’ll always be friends. That one day, we’ll host a high school graduation cookout party and these same girls will be there and will still be important in your life. Who knows if that’s even likely – I am not still close with anyone from my kindergarten years, in part because we moved away. But I can wish it for you all the same.

I do envy your ability – and for that matter, the ability of most 5-year-olds – to make instantaneous friendships. You can meet someone at the pool, find out she likes to play dolphins as much as you do, and suddenly you’re best buddies. Cherish this, because when you’re older it’s not always so simple. When you’re older, the relationships often grow more slowly and require more cultivation.

But sometimes, all that slow-yet-steady growth allows the friendship to really take root. Unlike some random “friend” you meet at the pool but never think of again, sometimes these grown-up friends stick with you.

Such is the case with our friends Anna and Jason who came to visit last week. That friendship is one that keeps growing, despite the 3,000 miles between us.

The Ruby FamilyAnd lucky for all of us, they also have a daughter close to your age. You and Elliot have a lot in common – you’re smart, funny, love superheroes and My Little Pony. And you both love the water.

Pedicab GirlsHitching a RideAt the Jepson MuseumDuring their visit we were able to introduce them to some of our favorite summer activities. We took them to Wassaw Island, where you rescued sea stars and harassed the blue crabs. We took a cruise up the Skidaway River, and you and Elliot took turns jumping off the boat into the cool water. We picnicked in the wolf cabin at Oatland Island. We took them to your favorite restaurant, The Crab Shack, where you and Elliot fed alligators together.

Chasing the WavesSaving Sea StarsAt Oatland IslandThe Wolf CabinFollowing the TracksElliot Takes the LeapPlunge!Crab ShackThere goes that future nostalgia again, as I like to imagine many more opportunities for you all to build memories together in later years.

LighthouseThe GirlsSweet girl, it continues to be such a joy to watch you grow and develop your own personality. Lucky for me (from a parenting standpoint), you are, thus far, a fairly strict rule-follower. You like to be an enforcer as well, and I was on the receiving end of that trait earlier this month.

As I was getting you ready for bed, you asked, “Mama, why do you leave the light on in your room when you’re not in there?”

I didn’t quite know where you were going with this, so I said, “What do you mean?”

“Sometimes you leave the light on in your room when you go downstairs, and I have to climb out of my bunk bed to turn it off. That’s wasting electricity.”

You didn’t say it in a bossy tone. Rather, you said it in a gentle tone like a mother might say to a child who really didn’t know any better. I was amused. You continued.

“Mom, when you were a little girl, did you go to a Montessori school?”

“No,” I answered.

“Oh,” you said, as if that explained everything. “I bet if you had gone to a Montessori school you would’ve learned about turning off lights.”

I was still amused, but bordering on annoyed now because you were insinuating that you knew more about these things than I did. That somehow my education was incomplete compared to your scant 2 years of elementary school. But I bit my tongue because after all, you were right about wasting electricity. And if I admitted that I knew better but left the light on anyway? That might be worse. So instead, I accepted this lesson from you and have been better about turning out the light.

You teach me so much all the time – about how to live a good life, how to embrace friendships old and new, how to play and how to enjoy each other. Thank you for every lesson, and for all your love. I love you so much.

2 Comments on “Letter to Camille: 71 Months

  1. Norah had to talk to me a few weeks ago about wasting water when I left the kitchen sink faucet on a little too long for her liking. 🙂

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