Letter to Camille: 100 Months
100 Months!! Welcome to the triple-digits, my love!
In the past 100 months, I’ve written letters to you in our dining room, in a car, and on an airplane. I’ve written them as near as 10 feet away, and as far as 2,000 miles. But I’ve never before written to you in a hospital waiting room.
I just gave your Nana a hug and a kiss before she headed in to surgery. She hurt her back last week, and we’re hopeful the surgeon can help her feel good again. I’ve been staying with her in Tennessee this week to help out while she waited for surgery. It wasn’t easy to leave you, and you weren’t happy to be left. I slipped a note under your pillow before I left home, telling you how much I loved you and that we daughters must take care of our mamas when they need us. And I thought to the future for a moment, and to a time when you will be a grown up and I will need your help. And I feel certain you’ll be there for me, sweet soul that you are.
This last month covered Halloween, typically one of your favorite holidays. You love playing dress up, and always relished in planning your costume and knowing that for at least one day, everyone else wanted to play dress up with you. And give you candy, too!
But this year, we were both happy to bid goodbye to Halloween and have the calendar flip to November. You have never liked scary things, and this Halloween seemed to expose you to more of them than in the past. I suspect that’s in large part because your friends are getting older, and some of them are beginning to like the scary side of Halloween.
Gone are the days when all your playmates dressed as princesses, Star Wars heroes or cartoon characters. Now, sometimes they’re dressed as blood-soaked villains wielding bloody butcher knives. I don’t know how many nights, as we tucked you in, your voice took on a trembling tone as you confessed, “I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight. I can’t stop thinking about…” and you’d describe whatever was the latest thing to frighten you.
We sympathized. We shared coping techniques. We never let you crawl in bed to sleep with us, though there were times I wanted to. But I also wanted you to know that you are strong, and you are safe in your own bed.
You stopped eating breakfast by yourself downstairs in the morning on school days, opting instead to bring your bowl of oatmeal upstairs. You’d sit on the floor of my bathroom as I dried my hair, explaining, “I don’t like to be alone.”
Your teacher turned story time into “Spooky Story Time” at school, and you’d tell us how you’d sit in the classroom with your fingers in your ears trying to block the words. I don’t think the stories were truly scary, but by some point, even a hint of ghoulishness was enough to scare you.
The season wasn’t a total loss though – not at all. You had your first orchestra concert – a Halloween-themed performance with no scary costumes allowed. You donned your beloved black cat outfit, and looked adorable warming up, your viola propped underneath your hood and cat ears. The concert was wonderful.
Your Boo threw another great BooFest party, full of piñata-busting, apple-bobbing fun.
A new game this year involved a relay race where to goal is to sit on balloons to pop them, and I do believe it was a favorite.
We visited the Valles family in Winder, explored a corn maze and picked out pumpkins. You weren’t thrilled about the maze (“this is going to take forever!”), but delighted in choosing the perfect pumpkin for carving.
Halloween night, we joined up with some of your good buddies for trick-or-treating. While I think jellyfish are terrifying in real life, thankfully your best buddy Lola’s adorable jellyfish outfit didn’t frighten you. We made use of your Ahsoka Tano costume for one last hurrah, and had a great time tromping through the neighborhood collecting goodies.
Then November came, pushing away thoughts of Halloween, and turning our minds toward Thanksgiving. Next week we’ll travel to Dallas to visit Jeff, Michelle and your cousins. After a week away from you, I’m very much looking forward to a week of togetherness.
We’ve just heard from the surgeon, and your Nana is out of surgery and everything went well. I can’t tell you how pleased I am to hear it – I sure do love my mama an awful lot. It doesn’t matter how big I get, I will always love my mama. I think you know a little something about that too.
I can’t wait to see you tonight when I get home. You’ll be in bed before I arrive, but I look forward to slipping into your room, smoothing back your hair, picking up your hand and kissing your fingers. I love you so much sweet girl. I’ll see you soon.