Letter to Camille: 85 Months
Hello big girl and happy 85 months! When I first started writing letters to you, it made sense to count months. That’s how you mark time for infants. “Oh, she’s 4 months old!” or “She is 18 months!” That seems to be the appropriate age marker until a child turns 2, and then we start counting in half-years and years.
But here you are, 85 months old, and I still want to write to you each month. I realize there will come a time when you no longer want me to write about you on the internet. Or a time when you naturally become more independent and I no longer know enough details about your day-to-day to fill a letter each month. Scary thought (for me).
But for now, you are blissfully unconcerned about any of this, and frequently instruct me to “take a picture and put it on the internet.” Dressed up like Wicket the ewok, pretending to be a disc jockey on a Saturday morning? Totally acceptable for posting. For now.
No matter how old you get, as long as you’re a student, the first day of school will always be blog-appropriate. This month you officially entered the 2nd grade.
This is your third year at Ellis Montessori, and each year I’ve taken your picture beside a statue in the lobby. I use the statue as a measuring stick to mark your growth. My how you are growing into a beautiful lady. (Click the photo for a larger version)
Second grade is especially exciting at Ellis because the 2nd grade classrooms are upstairs. Downstairs is for pre-K through 1st grade, so only the BIG KIDS get to go upstairs. I joked all summer about how I was going to block your path at the bottom of the stairs and refuse to let you go up them. But of course, I didn’t dare embarrass you so much on your first day – bad enough I was the mom with the camera in the hallway.
Your dad and I escorted you to your room and I was suddenly conflicted – I wanted to take your picture as you settled in to your desk, but now that you’re in second grade, would you be mortified? Are “first-day-at-my-school-desk” photos just for the downstairs kids? I told myself to just record your image in my heart and leave the camera hanging on my shoulder. A quick kiss from you, and your Dad and I slipped from the room.
At the end of the day you greeted me with bubbly enthusiasm, happy to report a positive first day, and eager to reunite with buddies for our traditional first-day-froyo. You shared ice cream and happy tales with your gal pals. If I could choose friends for you, these girls would top my list. Good thing they top your list too.
We had a couple of other exciting adventures this month too. We’ve been getting a ton of rain lately, coming in showers so fast and so hard that our street drainage systems are quickly overwhelmed.
One night we watched out the window as our street turned into a river, and I had a crazy idea. A few moments later we were dragging your kayak from the (flooded) garage and you were paddling through Ardsley Park.
I always want you to embrace a sense of adventure, so this was a perfect teachable moment. And a lot of fun to watch.
Kayak hasn’t been your only mode of transportation down the street this month. I’m so pleased to report that you are now two-wheeling it on your bicycle!
After several attempts at removing the training wheels and teaching you to ride, we’d all gotten pretty frustrated. The balance just wasn’t coming. That’s when we finally took the advice friends had been giving us for years, to remove the pedals from your bike.
With no pedals, you were able to scoot and coast around a nearby parking lot practicing your balance, all while being able to put your feet down immediately if you felt off-kilter. We may have done this for about 30 minutes over a course of 2 days before you wanted to try again with the pedals.
I was prepared to do as we’d done before – push you along the street, bent over painfully and clutching your bike seat, the only thing between you and certain road rash. But with one little shove you suddenly took off, pedaling down the street on your own.
It was glorious.
We still need to work on steering and confidence (you’ve only run into a few parked cars), but now that you have had some success I think it won’t be long before we’re biking all over the neighborhood. I’m looking forward to these bike adventures with you.
But Camille, I have saved the best for last. Something BIG has happened this month, something the importance of which you cannot possibly understand.
Our Boston family has moved to Savannah.
Where to begin? This means you will grow up with 2 of your cousins close by. You will have much more contact with your Aunt Erin and Uncle Dave. We’ve always been close in relationship even though far apart on the map. But now, instead of occasional visitors, they will be part of your day-to-day story, deeply woven throughout your memories of childhood. Erin and Dave will help raise you, as your Daddy and I will help raise your cousins. Jones and Eli will be those kids that you have to love even when you get on each other’s nerves because they’re family – that’s a critical lesson for any kid, but especially one with no siblings.
But right now, there are no signs of any cousin conflict. On the contrary, you and Jones have been thick as thieves, spending as much time playing together as possible. You’ve taken to calling him your brother, and begging me to let him move in. You love to mother little Eli (boss him around), and when you walk in the room, he usually lights up and yells, “Mille!”
This is going to be so great. Family is incredibly important, and I couldn’t be more pleased to have them near. For me, for you, for all of us.
I love you so much sweet girl. So much. And I just love this life we get to share.