Letter to Camille: 90 Months

Camille at 90 Months

Hello sweet girl, and Happy 90 Months to you. Today I’m feeling so much better than yesterday, and I attribute a portion of my quick recovery to all the love you have shown me. I came down with a vicious stomach bug, and most of that day was spent tossing and turning in bed, feeling wretched. In between all of this, there was you, tip-toeing into my room from time to time. Always quietly. Always with a gift – a stuffed animal, a coloring page, a get well note. Always with a question, “Do you need anything Mama?” Then you’d disappear and appear again, with the glass of ginger ale I asked for, but with your special touches – served in a favorite Star Wars glass with a silly straw.

From Nurse Camille

Being sick was terrible, but being cared for by you was the opposite. It made me feel very loved.
Thankfully that day of illness was the only real bump we had in the last month, which included your 8th Christmas. It included a trip to Tennessee to be with my side of the family, and many Christmas get-togethers with your Daddy’s side too.

Tennessee ChristmasSay Cheese!Making Cookies for SantaCaroling Christmas Eve

Christmas day, Santa was quite good to you and seems to know you well. The pile of gifts in our living room reflected a girl with many dimensions – one who loves Star Wars and American Girl Dolls. Books about Disney Princesses and prepared microscope slides, of which “human blood” was your favorite. Bumblebee legs are pretty exciting too.

The Millennium Falcon!Jedi Reading Princess BooksA Boo, a Huttlet and a BanthaA Closer Inspection of Human Blood

Our Christmas break travels included a trip to see the Leonards and a visit with them to the World of Coke, where the ladies of the group were not keen to wait in line.

Waiting in Line

But you later declared the wait was worth it, because you enjoyed the tasting room so much. You hated the Beverly flavor from Italy, and loved the Fanta from Costa Rica. And you got to sneak a kiss from the Polar Bear.

The Polar Bear

From Atlanta we traveled north to see Mr. Glen in the mountains of Big Canoe. How I love to look out his huge living room windows and see nothing but mountainside and trees. We spent a morning stomping around his backyard, with you jumping over creeks and using fallen trees as balance beams.

Big CanoeMr. Glen's BackyardNature's Balance BeamAdmiring the Creek

One of your favorite activities was a simple one – using a stick to dig red Georgia clay from an upturned stump. I don’t know why this captivated you so, but it did.
I, on the other hand, was watching you with my teeth on my tongue, holding back reprimands.

Playing in the Clay

I very much want you to be an outdoor kid. In theory, I want you to get dirty and muddy because you are enjoying nature. But then there is this other side of me, the side that can’t bear to watch you fling clay all over your adorable grey boots and your fairly new school uniform khakis.

Getting DirtyRed Clay

I knew if I sent you inside to change
clothes, the moment would be gone. So I held my tongue.
Almost. At some point the laundress in me came out, and I found myself asking you not to get too dirty.
“But mooooooom,” you said, “If you’re not getting dirty, how do you know you’re having fun?”
And you were right. The uniform pants were found on clearance at Target. The boots – you’ll grow out of them soon anyway. The play is important.


Back home in Savannah, we returned to our usual routines, but with a few new challenges. We began biking to school some mornings, and I think it’s going to take us some time to build confidence with this. We’d done several practice rides on weekends and holidays, but the first time we biked to school we were confronted with the realities of morning traffic. It made us both nervous, especially when you took a spill on Washington Avenue. But we’re finding better routes – slightly longer but less busy, and I can tell by the singing that you do along the route that you’re enjoying most of the ride.

First Day Biking to School

Another new challenge – you began taking viola lessons this month. Your father and I both thought it would be great for you to learn music, and fortunately we found a wonderful teacher through friends and began lessons right after Christmas. 

First Viola Lesson

You’ve had 4 lessons now, and while I think you’re doing quite well, playing has not come as quickly or as easily as you would like. It’s hard to watch you struggle – hard to watch you get so frustrated with yourself when the note isn’t right or the bow slides over the wrong string. But I have to remind myself that this is good for you. We all need to learn what it’s like to start from zero and build up. To struggle, to practice, and then to improve.
Just like you taught me in Big Canoe that it’s important to play in the dirt, I’m hoping to teach you that it’s important to challenge yourself and learn something new, even when it’s difficult.
Thank you for this month – for being my willing student, who is also sometimes my teacher, and sometimes even my nurse. But always, always my very best girl. I love you so much. 

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