Letter to Camille: Waterfalls & Octopi

Hello my sweet girl! It’s Friday afternoon – probably my favorite time of the week, with all the potential of 2 weekend days stretching ahead of us. Tonight is going to be a family movie night, and I’m introducing you to a beloved movie from my childhood – Airplane. I showed you the trailer this morning. You were not impressed.

“I mean, I’ll totally watch it with you, but it doesn’t look very good,” you said, like someone making a great sacrifice.

Well, we can’t agree on everything. We do have a lot in common, but there are also days when I might question your parentage if I hadn’t been there when you were born.

Examples. You LOATHE shopping. You like to eat octopus but not peanut butter & jelly. You think snakes are adorable. If you have to be late to school because of a dentist/doctor’s appointment, the injustice is enough to elicit tears.

However, we are both terrified of needles, we are voracious readers, we like to please those in authority, and we love tacos. When your Daddy and I were first dating, he told me he didn’t care for Mexican food. The thought crossed my mind, “this relationship may not work.” Thankfully, he came around and here we are, two decades and many tacos later, still together. Eating tacos.

I’m beginning to recognize another big difference though – our tastes in travel. My favorite kind of travel involves nature – seeing something new and amazing in the natural world. Snow capped mountains, plunging canyons, exotic jungles, and anything involving moving water – rivers, waterfalls, oceans.

You love to travel if it fits a specific purpose, like visiting a friend, or attending a concert or theatrical production. But you have no interest in sightseeing. Hiking is a drag. Museums are a bore.

A few weeks ago we began planning a summer trip, and were discussing Iceland. I pulled up some YouTube videos about Reykjavik, and was immediately mesmerized by all the natural wonders there. You were watching these same videos, with much less enthusiasm.

Me: “Camille – look at that huge waterfall!”

You: “Ugh. But waterfalls are just so … LOUD.”

*face palm

One of the itineraries would mean missing the last week of school. I was ok with this because everyone knows no learning happens in the last week of school. I asked what you thought.

You: “Absolutely no. We don’t do ANYTHING on the last week of school. I don’t want to miss that!”

*face palm

You are still enjoying school, much to my delight. A few weeks ago you attended the first middle school Homecoming Dance. Shopping for a dress was no small task, in part because you hate shopping. But also, you’re at an age when the dresses in the Girls section are too juvenile, but the dresses in the Juniors section are too … backless. With exposed midriffs. Just, no.

Your absolute favorite store is Hot Topic, the young person’s mecca for all things counterculture. The clothing offerings range from ironically cute Disney princess attire to dark, black, goth skirts and shirts with skulls.

This is where you wanted to get your Homecoming dress. As we riffled through the clothing racks, I’d hold up dress after dress. “Do you like this one? This one? How about this one?”

I lifted one dress and you rolled your eyes. “No mom. I’m not that emo.”

How do you even know what emo is? When did you become a brooding teenager?

You finally did find a dress – a really cute dress that was not too juvenile, not too revealing, and not too emo.

But my favorite part of the day was when we were walking through the mall and you slipped your soft hand into mine. I didn’t say anything, just gave you a squeeze. But you read my thoughts.

You: “No, I’m not too big to hold your hand.” Pause. “But if I see my friends, don’t be upset if I let go.”

Me: “I love holding your hand. But I will understand if you let go in front of your friends. I’ll just cry a little bit. Really really loudly.”

As you get older, you are definitely more aware of how you appear in front of your friends, and how your father and I factor into that. We’re always on the verge of doing something horribly embarrassing, which is quite fun for us grown ups.

Still, I was surprised and amused at how much thought you’d given to my hair.

Somehow it came up that I had an appointment this week to have my hair cut and colored. I have had grey hairs since … forever … and require regular dye jobs to keep the silver in check.

You: “Oh good!” you gushed, collapsing a bit as if you’d been carrying the weight of my grey hair on your small shoulders. “I’ve been thinking you needed to color your hair for WEEKS, but I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”

Gee – thanks! So I teased that maybe I wasn’t going to color it after all, and I was going to let the silver shine through.

You: “No – you can’t do that. I’m too young to have a mother with grey hair. You have to wait until I’m at least 18. You can go grey then, but not before I’m 18.”

Ha! I’m glad to see you’ve worked all this out in your head.

Well, don’t worry. I’m not giving in to the grey just yet.

Oh sweet girl, you sure do make me laugh. And – yes – face palm sometimes. And even though you may not like waterfalls and I may not like octopus, I still think we’ve got a pretty good thing going here.

I sure do love you. So much.

One Comment on “Letter to Camille: Waterfalls & Octopi

  1. So previous. Mother and daughter love so beautiful put into words. Thank you for sharing.

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