Letter to Camille: 73 Months

73 MonthsHappy 73 months my sweet girl! You have been six years old for a month now, and we sure know how to pack some adventures into a 4-week time span. This last month of summer break has been wonderful but exhausting. We couldn’t possibly keep up this pace for much longer, but school is just around the corner and soon enough we’ll be back to our routines.

Just a few days after your actual birthday, you had your party at the gym where you take gymnastics classes. You and a dozen or so of your best buddies had the whole place to yourselves, but everyone wanted to do one thing: jump into the pit of foam blocks.

This was not insignificant to me. You first started taking gymnastics when you were 4 years old, and you were terrified of jumping into the foam blocks. All the other kids in your class were climbing up on top of the vault and launching themselves in, while you would only agree to jumping tentatively from the edge of the pit.

You’ve grown a lot since then in every way. At your party, I marveled at your confidence as you flew off the vault into the pit, and also dropped from a rope swing into the foam blocks below.

Leap!Swinging into the PitBirthday BuddiesA week later, Jones, Eli and Auntie Erin came to town for what was supposed to be a week-long visit, but was happily extended into a 3-week stay. We lived like tourists in our own town, going out on the boat, Wassaw Island, Tybee Island, the Children’s Museum, the pool, the movies, the Crab Shack, and even checking out a traveling dinosaur exhibit!

Eli and Erin on TybeeEgyptian Goddess and a FirefighterHorseplayCrab Shack CousinsTaming the GatorMaking Footprints on WassawExploring Wassaw IslandAt the Dinosaur ShowAnd that was just the first week!

But we had to put the brakes on all that fun in week two as a stomach bug introduced itself into the mix … just in time for our train trip to Washington DC. You spent the two days before our vacation throwing up and feeling rotten.

It was our first train trip and we’d all been so excited about the adventure, but suddenly 11 hours in a train seemed like way too long. And it was. But you were a trooper, keeping a plastic bag nearby just in case (but thankfully never needing it), and resting as much as you could.

With Dad on the TrainHappily, once we made it to DC you had recovered and were ready to tackle the town. Top on our list was reuniting with one of our favorite families. It had been more than a year since best buddies Will and Sam moved there from Savannah, and time had not weakened the bond.

Will and Sam!We were also excited to visit DC because you’re such a little science and nature nerd, and we knew you’d be thrilled by the Museum of Natural History. When we walked into the room with all the dinosaur bones, you said, “I think I’m going to pass out.”

The Hall of DinosaursStegosaurusEvery room held such treasures, although for some reason you were genuinely frightened by the skeleton of a giant sloth. A T-Rex? Fine. But a giant sloth? Hold me Daddy.

The Terrifying Giant SlothAt the last minute we added a tour of the Museum of the American Indian,
which piqued your interest more than I expected. We also did a tour of
the White House, which we all enjoyed, and spent time exploring the
National Zoo.

The American History Museum was a hit too, especially the exhibits related to superheroes. You even got to draw your own superhero (Animal Girl, who turns evil people into nice animals) on the wall there.

Superman's ClothesDrawing "Animal Girl"It was hard to leave our friends, but soon it was time to board the train for a much more pleasant, healthy return trip home. Once back in Savannah, we squeezed in several more boat trips, taking every opportunity to enjoy the warm water before it’s replaced by autumn’s chill.

Saturday we went up the Skidaway River with good buddies and dropped anchor to swim for a bit. It was low tide, which meant the surrounding marshes were more exposed than usual. Muddy banks appeared beside the grasses, and Ashley casually suggested that you and Lola swim over to take a mud bath.

The two of you were immediately taken by the idea, but terrified of it too. Swim? Over there? To the mud? By ourselves? Won’t you come with us? Please? Please? (Now with tears, for added emphasis) Please?

We adults said no over and over again, until I finally agreed to swim part way with you and then watch you go the rest of the way to “Mud Island.” And the two of you did just that, except once Lola was standing on Mud Island, her shoe got lost when the mud sucked it right off her foot. So onward I went to rescue the shoe.

The World's Muddiest ShoesAnd when I got there, I found two happy girls slathering mud all over themselves, and it did look like a blast. I plopped down on the mud next to you and thought, for the thousandth time since you were born, that you are so much fun. No self-respecting adult wanders over to the muddy banks of the marsh to sit in the nasty, smelly, black marsh muck. Not without good reason. But you gave me good reason to act like a kid again. To do something crazy and silly. To have fun. And it was fun.

On Mud IslandThank you for all the good gifts you give me, of love and of adventure. You are my treasure, and I love you so much.

Back from Mud Island. Victorious.

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