Letter to Camille: 97 Months

97 Months

Hello sweet girl, and happy 97 months to my THIRD grader! You are now more than halfway through your elementary school years, which is wild to me. On the first day of school, you begrudgingly allowed us to take your picture on the front steps of our house and in the lobby of your school, but when I asked if I could snap a pic at your desk, the answer was an emphatic “No!”

First Day of Third GradeLacy SocksSchool Lobby Photo

But, you still held my hand walking up to the school, so I’ll call the morning a win.

Not Too Big to Hold My Hand

Our post-first-day-of-school gathering of friends continues to grow, which is a great thing. This year we took up an entire wing of a neighborhood restaurant, and you were glad to reunite with school buddies over coke floats in the afternoon. And we were especially glad to include cousin Jones this year too.

Cousin LoveCoke Floats

But before school started, we still had summer fun to experience. We spent almost a week in New York at the end of July. I love exploring a big city with you, teaching you how to read subway signs and how to hail a cab and all those things we don’t ever do in Savannah. One of my favorite things about riding the subway in New York is walking out of the subway station. Not being familiar with the all the stops, I never know what we’ll see. Will we come up the stairs and be greeted by skyscrapers? A tree-lined city park? A mob of people? A quieter side street? 

Any Seat Will DoGranite Slide in Central Park

We found many playgrounds to explore, walked miles and miles of museums, and ate a lot of good food. We toured the Statue of Liberty, and rode rides on Coney Island. We were completely exhausted by the end of the trip – exhausted but immensely satisfied with our adventures.

Natural History MuseumMuppet Studio at FAO SchwarzConey IslandConey Island RidesMagnolia CupcakesStatue of Liberty

For all the wonderful pictures I got of you on our trip, there’s one less wonderful one that I still cherish. I’ve had a lot of internal deliberations about whether or not to post it here. In general, I try to only write or post about positive things – I like the old adage that if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I do recognize that these letters are open and public, and I feel I owe it to you not to share things you’d rather were kept quiet.
On one of our last evenings in New York, we were watching the sun set on the rooftop terrace of our apartment building. We were all tired and a little cranky, and you got mad at us for some imagined slight. You stormed off to pout in the corner, your doll left standing on her “stage,” and I couldn’t help but see the humor in it. I snapped a picture, because this is your childhood too. Not every moment is sunshine, but it’s all part of being a kid and being a parent.

An Unhappy Camille

Will you be mad at me one day for posting it? If so, my apologies. If I knew it would be upsetting, I wouldn’t post it. But I think as a parent one day you’ll see the humor in it too. 
I do think you’re becoming more aware of the reach of the internet. I showed up at your buddy Ellanor’s house the other day to pick you up after a sleepover. You were sitting at the table, eating cereal, wearing a bridal veil and tiara and full makeup. I thought it was hilarious, so I ran back to the car to get my camera. By the time I returned, you’d ditched the costume. You didn’t want me to take your picture. “I don’t want you to put it on the internet!” you exclaimed.
You’re growing up in a culture of over-sharing – that’s for sure. And I’m as guilty as anyone about wanting to document every bit of your childhood. There may come a time when you ask me to stop writing publicly to you, and of course I would. But I ho
pe that one day, years from now, you flip back through these letters and see the love written all over each one. Love for a smiling child, love for the one pouting in the corner – love for everything about you. Love that I will proudly share on the internet for anyone interested in seeing it.
I love you so much sweet girl.
From the Brooklyn Pier

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