Letter to Camille: 9 Years Old!

Camille at 9 Years Old!

Happy birthday to you, my sweet 9 year old girl! Tonight you are sound asleep, exhausted, happy, and completely waterlogged. 
Your birthday party yesterday was a hit. We’d been planning it for months, ever since that weekend back in January when you asked how old you have to be to go scuba diving. I didn’t know, so we googled (what did my parents do without google?).
You have to be 10 to get scuba certification, but if you’re 8, and under the supervision of an instructor, you can practice scuba diving in a pool. And even better, there is a dive shop in town that does scuba birthday parties for kids.

Scuba LessonScuba Diver

Your friend Taylor’s family was nice enough to let us have the party at their pool, and all you kiddos had a chance to try on the gear and swim for a while. Grown ups could play too, and I loved swimming around with you, sharing the tank and the two regulators.

Mother/Daughter DiveOff to the Deep EndThe CakeThe Birthday Crew

Today, we had a family birthday celebration with Boo and the Kartunens. We planned this party around a pool too because we knew you’d want to use your new present – a shiny blue mermaid tail and matching swimsuit.

Our Mermaid

For a girl who loves to swim and loves to play make-believe, this was the perfect gift. Also, it’s packable so we can take it to Costa Rica. You only had a few minutes to flip your fin around in the water before an afternoon thunderstorm interrupted our fun, but I see lots of mermaid pool time in your future.

SwimmingHappy Mermaid

So while mermaids are definitely “in,” I’ve learned that princesses are now “out.” You are teetering between two worlds right now – one foot is still firmly planted in the realm of little girls, but the other is creeping toward the tween phase. 
Just last week as you were getting dressed for Girl Scout camp, you moodily came into my room and announced that you had no shirts to wear. 
I know for a fact you have a dresser drawer FULL of shirts.
“But they all have frilly sleeves or girly things on them,” you said, looking like you’d just sucked on a lemon.
I started thinking back to your recent wardrobe, and it’s been almost entirely shorts and t-shirts. All your pretty dresses and ruffled shirts have gone untouched. You now despise the color pink, and anything having to do with princesses.
I overheard you and a friend talking the other day about how much you now dislike the movie “Frozen.” It seems baby-ish to you now, and you’ve gotten quite adept at rolling your eyes anytime someone sings “Let It Go,” which you used to play INCESSANTLY in my car. 
But I think there’s really a part of you that still loves the movie. That your disdain is mostly for show. We were going through your DVDs the other day, selecting some to sell in a yard sale. I pulled out the Frozen DVD and held it up for consideration. 
“What about this one? Are we selling it?” I asked. 
Your eyes got wide and you were quiet for a long moment. Then in a small voice, you said, “Maybe not yet.”
And secretly I was glad. I’m not sure how I feel about you shaking off all these treasures of your younger years. “Maybe not yet” seems the perfect reply for now.
Here’s another example of how you’re vacillating between these older and younger phases in your life. This last month, you had your first opportunity to go to sleep-away church camp. I was one of the chaperones, and your buddy Ellanor came with you. 
The camp was held on the campus of Converse College in South Carolina, and we slept in the dorms. You and Ellanor had one room to yourselves, while Lauren and I took the other, with a bathroom adjoining the two. 
You girls were ecstatic and giddy when we arrived, and relished in the unpacking of your suitcases into your dorm room closet. You began “playing college,” pretending to be roommates. I’d overhear snippets of conversation as you discussed signing up for classes and other important college matters. 

Unpacking in their Dorm

But a little while later, I popped my head in the room to check on you girls, and your make-believe game had changed a little. 

“I’m still in college,” you said, “but Ellanor is my pet dog.” And sure enough Ellanor was crawling around on all fours, barking. 
I LOVED it. Because it proved to me that you’re still my little girl for a while longer – a little girl who fantasizes that her friend is a puppy.


One of your favorite thing
s to do over this past year has been to play with the Photobooth app on my computer. It allows you to take photos using the built-in camera, and then edit them with really zany effects.
So tonight, I’ll wrap up with a few of my favorites of the past year, with some of your favorite people.
I love you so much. I’ve whispered prayers of thanks for you many times today, but I don’t have wait until your birthday to feel gratitude for you. I love you so much, every day. Always.

Camille and AudreyMother/Daughter AliensAll About CamilleChancey PantsChipmunk CousinsCousin LoveA Silly DaddyHologram FriendsHer Pitiful ExpressionWith EllaTwinsies

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