Letter to Camille: 101 Months

101 MonthsHappy 101 months sweet girl, and Happy Christmas Eve Eve! 

We’re all a little travel-weary tonight, having just driven through hours of thick holiday traffic in a pouring rain to get back home from Tennessee. But the visit is always worth the trouble. You spent the last several days in the company of cousins Stella and Jane – the second time this month you’ve seen these girls! Considering that they live in Texas, this is no small feat. 

Camille, Stella and JaneSilly HatsCousin Fun

For Thanksgiving, we flew to Dallas to spend the holiday with them in their new home. We ate, we played, we had adventures (like a visit to a dinosaur trail!), but mostly you kids did what kids do best – you got up way too early each morning so that you’d have plenty of time to laugh and scream and jump and run and thoroughly enjoy each other’s company. Go to sleep. Repeat.

On the Dinosaur TrailExplorers

When we got together with them again this weekend in Tennessee, it was happily more of the same. You love each other dearly, you drive each other nuts, and you can’t wait to see each other again.

Cousins at Christmas

Our travels this month also included a couple of nights with Mr. Glen in Big Canoe, where you’re free to explore the woods behind his mountain cabin. Your day was filled with activities like “birdhouse rehab,” and lots of time spent clearing leaves from the creek with a stick. Was it necessary to clear those leaves? No. But it was satisfying work, and you were glad to do it.

Birdhouse RehabClearing the Creek

All this traveling has, obviously, meant lots of time in the car. We don’t mind if you watch movies in the car, but lately you’ve resisted, saying, “I don’t want my brain to turn to mush.” 
One time, probably 2 years ago, you asked me why we limited your TV time at home. And I told you that watching too much TV makes your brain turn to mush. I didn’t mean it literally, but you took it that way. No matter how many times I’ve tried to explain my hyperbole, you seem to be honestly a little afraid that if you watch too much TV at one time, your brain will liquefy and begin oozing out of your ears.

Car Traveler

But I’m not complaining. It’s nice to see the things you’ll come up with to do in the car. For example, on this Tennessee trip you borrowed my laptop so you could write a book. It was a chapter book in which a you and a group of classmates are studying worms and then you TURN INTO WORMS! Adventure ensues. Your story is really quite fun, and it was a proud mama moment when you piped up from the backseat to ask, “Mama, how do you spell ‘treacherous?'” I love that brain of yours.
That brain has really been churning over the idea of Santa Claus this year. We’ve played the Santa game all your life and we’ve enjoyed it, but your Daddy and I have not taken it too seriously. We didn’t want to build it up so much that when you learned the truth you’d be devastated. 
You will ask me sometimes if I believe in Santa. I usually dodge answering, offering something like, “Well, I do know there are presents under the tree on Christmas morning…” or turning the question back on you. 
This year, you seem on the verge of figuring out the game.
The other day we were coming home from school when you announced, “I can tell you one thing, I do NOT believe in the Easter Bunny. I mean, come on. A bunny? Hopping around and dropping off presents? That’s crazy.”
So your Dad asked about the tooth fairy. Is she real? “Oh yes!” you said, without hesitation. “Of course the tooth fairy is real!”
As for Santa, you have a buddy at school who claims it’s really the work of parents, putting out gifts while you’re asleep. “What do you think?” I asked you.
“I don’t know!!” But at least you don’t sound upset about the whole thing, just curious. And you’ve avoided asking us directly for the truth. If I had to guess, I’d say that deep down you probably realize it can’t be real. But you want to play the game, so we’ll keep playing.
As a child, I loved the excitement and anticipation of Christmas Eve almost as much as Christmas Day itself. As your mama, it’s no different. I can’t wait to wake up with you tomorrow to make cookies for Santa (or for your parents – who can be sure?), go to church, be with family, and then go to bed with those excited Christmas butterflies in our bellies. I couldn’t think of a better gift than spending this season with you. I love you sweet girl!
Christmas Family 2014

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