Letter to Camille: 115 Months

Camille at 115 Months

Hello sweet girl – Happy 115 Months! Right now you’re watching the Teen Titans cartoon with your Daddy – something you guys do most every night before bed. We have a routine – you and your Daddy watch a show, and then one of us reads to you in bed (we take turns). Gone are the evenings when you needed us to read for you. I can’t even count the number of books you’ve devoured on your own lately. But we still savor these moments together, cuddled in your bed (or not cuddled, since it’s usually too hot for that business), enjoying a good book together.
You’re in that literary in-between phase, where you want books that are more challenging and cerebral, but also can’t handle books that are scary or too sad or heavy.
Wait. Come to think of it, I’m still in that phase. Maybe it’s not a phase – maybe it’s the kind of reader you are. I read for fun and for entertainment and to learn new things, but if the story is particularly sad I carry that sadness around in my heart and a dark cloud hangs over my entire day for as long as I’m reading the book. It’s just not worth it. I think you may be the same way.
Your current favorite book – one you’ve probably read 6 or 7 times in the last 6 months – is Wonder by R.J. Palacio. At first, I would have thought it was too heavy for you. It’s about a boy with a severe facial deformity who attends middle school for the first time after a childhood of homeschooling. It’s tough in places, but the characters are beautiful and strong. We read it together and I loved it too.
We needed something new to read, so just last week we started Esperanza Rising. The main character faces a major tragedy in the beginning – the death of her father. Her sadness and grief are drawn out over the first several chapters, and that night after I tucked you in, it wasn’t long before I heard the creak of your door opening again.
“Mama, I can’t sleep,” you said. “My heart is racing.”
We talked about it. You said you were scared after reading that book. Scared something might happen to me or your Daddy. I laid down beside you and curled around your body for comfort.
“Mama,” you cried, “please don’t die.”
Ugh. That’s a difficult one. We all die. We do. It bothers me too, but it’s true. It would seem like I wasn’t taking you seriously if I just said, “Don’t worry sweetie, I won’t die.” That would be a lie.
So I told you that I was healthy, that your Daddy was healthy, and there was no reason to be worried. That was the truth, and eventually you fell asleep. And I promptly returned that book to the library. I know it has a happy ending, but I felt your pain. The book was just not worth it.
Whoa – that ended up being more dark than I intended. But sometimes this parenting stuff is tough. And sometimes this growing up stuff is tough too.

Camille Up a Tree

Thankfully, these dark and scary thoughts don’t dominate your day. Generally, your thoughts seem to linger on more fun things, like going to Germany.
You’ve become obsessed with Germany lately – in particular, with visiting Heidelberg because it shares your last name.
“What do you even want to do there?” I asked you one evening after you declared it to be the most important destination on your travel wish list.
“I don’t know!” you squealed. “See the sign for Heidelberg and then FREAK OUT!”
That’s a looooooong flight to see one sign. And freak out.
But your Daddy started looking up some information about travel to Heidelberg. Secretly, we’ve been longing to take one of the “Adventures by Disney” trips. They’re super pricey, super fun-sounding global adventures organized by Disney – sure to be kid-friendly and swank.
And they just happen to have a European one that includes a few nights in Heidelberg. And a sleepover in a real castle.
When he told you about it, your eyes got huge and round, as excited energy beamed from your every pore. “I WANT TO DO THAT!” you declared.
“Sorry love,” Daddy said, “But it’s $5,000. PER PERSON.”
You: “Whoa. That’s a lot. (pause) But I still want to go.”
Daddy: “I tell you what, if you can come up with $5,000 and pay your way, we’ll go.” Your Daddy and I had a nice chuckle about that.
But you remained guardedly optimistic. You now receive an allowance of $5 per week, and each week brings you gleefully closer to 5 grand. And you retain that optimism, because you can’t really fathom how much money that is, especially for a 9 year old.
Fast forward to Saturday. We were having a lazy, hang-around-the-house kind of day, so you started making crafts. You took sea shells and hemp string and made lovely necklaces. You’d been talking for a while about wanting to sell Costa Rican themed jewelry and art, and your Daddy had made a deal with you: make at least 10 products, and he’d make you a website.


So you gathered up some of the paintings you’ve created, and you fashioned several more necklaces, and by the end of the day had 10 products. You even made your own logo for your store, CamsCraft.


Good to his word, Daddy made your website, CamsCraft.us, and we shared it with our friends on Facebook. Within a day, you’d sold nearly every item, and made almost $75. In one day.
Now your Daddy and I are getting a little worried about that Germany/Disney promise.
Not really though. If you manage to save up and dream up a way to make $5,000, then that’ll be a happy problem for us to have. Mostly, I’m just proud of your ambitious, entrepreneurial spirit.
I remember several years ago, you learned to make an origami whale. You made about two dozen of them, and wanted to sell them on the street corner for a dollar a piece. I didn’t have the heart to tell you that I didn’t think they’d sell very well. The product and the market didn’t seem a good match. I finally convinced you to give them away to parents in the school carpool line, who seemed surprised but gracious upon receiving your gift.
But with CamsCraft, you are feeling the joy of success. Of having people see something you made, and decide it’s worth buying. And I’m feeling very grateful toward family and friends who are supporting you and helping you find this success.
You need to rep
lenish the store, so tonight we walked the beach at Guiones, looking for more shells and fish bones. We’re asking around to see if we can source more string for necklaces. We’re foraging for more wood for your paintings.

Shell HuntingBeach Walking

Maybe one day you’ll make enough money to go to Heidelberg. Or, more likely, you’ll come across a giant stuffed animal somewhere and blow all your money on it. But for now, enjoy that feeling of accomplishment. You are loved. We are loved. And that love comes flooding to us in so many different ways – like in the support for a 9-year-old’s craft store even though we’re thousands of miles away.
I love you so much my sweet pea. And I’m so proud of you. Love, Mama.
Pura Vida Hammock Time

2 Comments on “Letter to Camille: 115 Months

  1. These letters are so sweet. My daughter’s 9 too and she just read Esperanza Rising in school. Has Camille read Wonderstruck? I read it to my kids and they loved it. The art is great and there are some good Bowie references which is always a bonus. Hope you and Lee are well. I’ve enjoyed following your adventures from afar.


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