Letter to Camille: 91 Months
Hello sweet girl and Happy 91 Months! You’re upstairs getting dressed for bed right now, and part of your bedtime routine every night is this question: “Short sleeves, long sleeves, or feetie pajamas?”
It’s a valid question in Savannah in February, where the weather is so fickle you can be in a light nightgown one night and fleece pajamas the next. You can be riding horses in short sleeves one day …
…and then released from school early the very next day under a winter weather warning. We were sure – SO SURE – that we were finally getting snow in Savannah. School was cancelled for a day and a half, but all we had to show for it was some cold rain. We were disappointed, but nonetheless enjoyed a mid-week pajama day that didn’t involve anyone being home sick.
The cold rain stuck around that weekend too, but couldn’t keep us away from race day out on Tybee Island. For 3 years now, we’ve made this a family & friends race weekend, with the grown ups racing on Friday, and the kids racing in a 1-miler on Saturday.
As usual, you were running with Team BDR JR, but this year there were 2 new faces on your team. Jacqueline and Maggie were about to run their first-ever mile. As we walked to the starting line, Maggie – typically fearless and tenacious – confessed to me, “I am really nervous.”
When I told you what Maggie said, I was pleased to see you run up to her and throw an arm around her shoulder. “It’s going to be fun Maggie,” you said. “Do you want me to run with you?”
You two grabbed hands. It was a nice gesture, but I didn’t expect it to last. I know that sometimes once the starting horn blasts, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of your own run.
Three … Two … One … And off you went, still hand-in-hand. We parents craned our necks until you kids disappeared into the crowd and around a corner. Then we cut over to the finish line for the anxious wait.
We watched and watched, and then I felt relief to see your bright blue shirt coming up the final stretch. But what brought the tears was seeing Maggie beside you, and your hands still locked together as you crossed the finish line.
Would the two of you have run faster if you’d dropped hands? No doubt. But I couldn’t have been prouder if you’d won the race. Being fast is nice, but being a good friend is even better.
We experienced another big milestone this month – it was the month you began wearing glasses.
It did not come as a huge surprise. We’d known since pre-K that your vision wasn’t perfect, but the eye doctor didn’t feel you needed glasses at the time.
I kept waiting for you to tell me you were having headaches or trouble reading, but you had no such complaints. But when you started playing viola, you sometimes struggled to see the sheet music and would sometimes miss the finger tapes on the instrument’s neck.
So off we went to the eye doctor, with you repeating in the backseat, “I hope I need glasses! I would be so adorable in glasses!”
The doctor did not disappoint. Only after he’d made the announcement that you needed glasses, you mentioned “sometimes I have to walk to the front of the room to read what the teacher writes on the board.”
Good grief. Why had you not told me this?
Anyway, you picked out a purple pair of glasses and could hardly bear the expected 4-10 day wait for them to arrive.
Back home, your princess drawings began to include new accessories.
And I found this note on the dry erase board on our refrigerator. You were counting down the days.
The glasses did in fact arrive on Monday, and you were thrilled. I, on the other hand, need to get used to this. They look lovely on you, but they also make you look older than your seven years.
Tuesday, I admit I was apprehensive as you went off to school. Would the kids be nice? Would they agree that you do indeed look adorable in glasses? Or would your feelings get hurt? Your enthusiasm stifled?
When I picked you up that afternoon, I acted nonchalant. Asked all the usual “How was your day” questions.
Finally, I asked how you were liking your glasses. Did they help you see the board?
“Yep!” you said.
“Did your buddies like them?” I asked.
“Well, so-and-so said she liked me WAY better before glasses,” you announced.
I wanted to march back into school and find this so-and-so.
You, however, didn’t seem upset by this. But I worried anyway, and started qui
zzing you about your other friends, listing them by name and asking what they thought (and they were complimentary, thankfully).
But I quickly realized my mistake in asking you to tally their opinions. To care about what everyone else had to say. I only cared because I worried about your ego, but I didn’t want to convince you that their opinion was so important.
“Well, all that really matters is what you think of them,” I said. “And what do you think of your new glasses?”
“I love them!” you said, unfazed.
And you should. I love your confidence – it’s one of the things that makes you beautiful on the inside and out.
My smart, beautiful, sweet girl.