Letter to Camille: 128 Months

Hello sweet girl and happy 128 months! We are wrapping up your week of spring break, a much longed-for respite from our usual routine.

Suddenly this month, you have decided that getting up in the morning and getting ready for school is a grave injustice. My girl who was usually bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as soon as the sun broke the horizon – she’s oft been replaced by a boneless lump who will lie on the floor and moan when asked to put on her shoes and get in the car.

“Do I have to go to school today?” you ask. Rhetorically.

“Yes. Yes you do, unless you want your mommy to go to jail because of your truancy. Now put on your shoes.”

This is your last year of elementary school, so I can only assume you’re practicing for your middle school years of burgeoning rebelliousness.

I’m sure we’re all in for a lot of changes over these next few years, but thankfully you’re still your sweet self most of the time. Last month we got to enjoy one of our favorite annual school events – the Daddy Daughter Dance.

As in years past, you asked me to put your hair in curlers. And as in years past, you didn’t want to skip a viola practice, which means I have these lovely pics for comparison. Both were taken on the night of the Daddy Daughter Dance, two years apart. You are bigger, your viola is bigger, but your intensity is the same.

February 2015

February 2017

Finally, with your blond hair in ringlets and a corsage on your wrist, you and your Daddy were ready to go.

You’d promised him several dances (in years past, the Daddys usually got ditched and all the girls danced with their girlfriends). And he says you were true to your word, dancing with him so much he was exhausted, but elated to be the recipient of your attention. The feeling was mutual. I love that he is teaching you how a good man should treat a good lady. We’re lucky girls.

We partook in another springtime tradition this month – the St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Savannah. This year Nana and Granddaddy wanted to go with us, joining the hundreds of thousands of other people flocking to the streets and squares to claim a spot for watching the hours-long parade.

We had a good time and it was fun to share the day with your grands, but we were all completely wiped out when it was over. Getting up early, fighting the crowds, sitting in the sun – it zapped us all. At the end of the day, you declared that you’d be willing to take a break from the parade for the next couple of years. At least until you are old enough to participate in one of the traditions – putting on bright lipstick and running out onto the parade route to plant kisses on the cheeks of the Benedictine Military Academy cadets.

“And how old do you have to be to do that?” I asked.

“Hmmmmm,” you said. “Probably 13.”

Okay then. Noted.

You did another grown-up-girl thing during your spring break – you went to a concert. It wasn’t your first, but probably your biggest to date. We took you to see the Avett Brothers perform at the Savannah Music Festival.

You love their music, and as far as kid-friendliness, these festival shows are great. The show started at 8 p.m. with no opening acts, and you even had a theater seat to rest your bones if you needed a break from standing and dancing.

Like a good fan, you lusted over everything at the sale table, even announcing that the roadies have it good because they have access to all the best merch. We got you a tour t-shirt, your first of many I imagine. But true to your young age and your strict adherence to bedtime rituals, by the time 9 p.m. rolled around you were melting in your seat, conflicted by your desire to enjoy the show and your need for a pillow and some shut-eye. I think you had a good time, even though you did NOT cheer for the encore. (“Seriously?” you asked. “But I’m so tired!”)

But if I had to guess, I’d say your favorite day of the last month was the day you spent at Six Flags in Atlanta. We went up to visit our friends the Leonards during spring break, and spent a day at the theme park, which was a first for you.

You’ve been to Disney plenty of times, and love some of the mild roller coasters there. But Six Flags is a bit different. Sure, there are kiddie rides, but as we were waiting in line to get in, you could hear all the screams emanating from riders on the many roller coasters near the entrance. The tracks extend out past the park gates and over the sidewalks and parking areas, and the trains come roaring by every so often, plunging riders down heart-stopping hills before flipping them upside and down and sideways.

“Mama, I’m scared,” you said.

We started off with some easy rides, but half-way through the day you were determined to ride at least one serious roller coaster. The Leonards, who are frequent Six Flags visitors, suggested the Scream Machine. It’s an old school wooden roller coaster with hills plenty steep enough to earn the name Scream Machine, but no upside-down loops.

You were nearly in tears as we waited in line. You wanted to ride the ride, but then again, you really really didn’t want to ride the ride. And I knew exactly how you felt, because you were me in miniature at that age. I remember standing in line for the Mind Bender roller coaster, bawling my eyes out because I couldn’t decide if I wanted to ride. I didn’t want to miss out, but I was terrified. Finally, at the last moment, I decided to ride – and I loved it.

I thought there was a good chance that the same would happen for you. We made it to the front of the line and they locked us into our seats. The train lurched forward and began it’s slow chinka-chinka-chinka up the first, dramatic hill. Your eyes were squeezed shut.

Then we were over the top of the hill and plummeting toward Earth. You were screaming, but you weren’t smiling. That was pretty much your state throughout the whole ride. I was fairly certain you hated it.

When the ride was over and we waited to get off the train, you sat stunned and shocked, unable to articulate your feelings. But when we stepped off the train and your friends rushed over to ask how you liked it, “It was crazy! It was awesome!” you said.

Did you really love it? Or were you just proud of yourself for riding? I think it was probably some of both. You declined a second ride and declared yourself done with roller coasters for the day. But you were immensely satisfied that you’d ridden it and survived, and love to retell the tale to anyone who will hear it.

It’s been a good month and a fun spring break, which will sadly come to an end the day after tomorrow. Then, it’s back to the grind. But I say bring on the grind, because ours is a pretty good one.

I love you so much sweet bear.  My concert-loving, roller-coaster riding tween. You’re the best.

Leave a Reply