Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

When I Am Old, I Want To Remember My Now Little Boy

Just before drifting off to sleep, my son rolls over to check that I’m still there and grips my hand more tightly in his. I like to think that he’s locking my presence into his dreams. Sometimes, while lying in the dark or playing in the light, I think about all of the things I need to do.

I think about work, about donating unused baby items, and about how far behind I am. I think about writing, about fall leaves neglected on the dying winter grass of our small yard, and about wrapping Christmas gifts waiting in unopened boxes, hidden from an eager five-year-old.

Sometimes I stop and focus on my son’s hand in mine.

I whisper.

“Remember this.”

Remember what it feels like to be lying in the dark, listening to a sweet five-year-old’s breaths become deeper regardless of what remains undone in the rest of the house.


One day, I’ll be gone.

One day, so will little-boy-him. Eventually too, old-man-him, his mother reduced to memories of quirks, frustrations, love, forgotten scents, and years of laughter. Reduced to weathered photo albums, some jewelry keepsakes, and a box of once important mementos that hasn’t been opened in years.

I hope to be really old.

I hope that I am wrinkled and stooped and able to meet my grandchildren. I hope to tell them about their father, my now baby boy and my then grown son. I hope to tell them about how brave he has always been.

How he struggled with language and how he always finds the light and the laughter. How eager he is to play and to please.

I want to remember vulnerable him. That when his 2am bad-dream cries pull me from my good ones, I know that one day, I’ll miss that.

“Remember this.”

Remember the not-so-little little boy who rolls over to check that I’m there while he fights sleep.

The little boy who is proud and embarrassed and silly and funny and perfectly himself.

I want to remember.

I want to live long enough so that I feel okay when leaving. I don’t know that there’s ever a time that any parent feels okay leaving this life but I have faith that some of us manage to do so in peace. That we leave knowing that we were enough.

I want to live long enough to tell my unwritten stories. Those of my grandchildren’s father who is my today little boy. To tell stories of myself, and those of our fathers and mothers even before us.

Remember Smiling Five Year Old

I want to tell my son’s children about their pasts.

I want to remind them that breathing the summer’s night air or the crispness of a freezing winter evening while looking at the stars has felt the same since forever and always will. For all of us.

That life and what we do with it matters.

I want to remember these moments and I want to know my old man son.

I hope to know his children, and to have them know me. I want to live long enough to where my little boy who will one day be a man —but will always be my baby —knows, without a doubt, that I love him.

For who he is. Because of, and in spite of himself. I want him to know that I love him for all of the days in the way that he knows I do today.

I hope to become old enough to see my son realize that he can do anything. That he already changed the world when he came into mine.

I want him to know that I am proud of him. That I will always be proud of him. Whether he is a cashier or an engineer. That what he chooses to do doesn’t matter as long as tries and that he finds acceptance and fulfillment there.

I want to remember that he’s my very best greatest ever most favorite always. Regardless of what I need to do during the rest of my time.

“Remember this.”

Remember this now, when I’m thinking about the to-dos. Remember this tomorrow, when we’re running late. Remember this always.

“Remember this.”

I want to remember my son holdiing my hand


This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday prompt, where writers and bloggers each finish the same sentence and link up to read one another’s answers. This week’s prompt was “When I’m really old, I hope to look back at my life and know that I…”

Your hosts:
Me (Finding Ninee)
This week’s co-hosts:
Vidya from Vidya Sury
Kerri from Undiagnosed But Okay

  • Janine Huldie - Aww, I keep telling myself this too as I don’t want to ever forget this time or what my girls were like either when they grow up, because as crazy as it all is this really is (as Billy Joel sang) “The Time to Remember”.December 18, 2014 – 10:10 pmReplyCancel

  • April Grant - I would love to keep my babies babies, but looking at them now, the joy that I see of them growing together. I hope it stays that way.December 18, 2014 – 10:14 pmReplyCancel

  • Allie - Amen. Yes to it all! I want it all, but it is so bittersweet. I cannot imagine my children as old, I just can’t it given vertigo:(. And I too hope to be really, really super-duper old. I have to be.December 18, 2014 – 10:14 pmReplyCancel

  • Dana - Five minutes ago, I hugged my not-so-little but still little boy, and I breathed in deep as if to save that moment. I can’t save it, but I can remember. Love this, Kristi – made me sigh big (in a good way), as your posts often make me do.December 18, 2014 – 10:29 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I love that you just hugged your not so little but still little boy and breathed him in. THAT. That’s what it is for and thank you so much Dana!December 19, 2014 – 11:29 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - This post appeared at just the right time for me. I just found out a few hours ago that my across the street neighbor tragically died suddenly (I don’t even know the circumstances). She was in her 60s and had 2 kids as well as 2 grandkids. When things like that happen, it really shakes me up and of course I immediately think of my own kids if something were to happen to me. And when you said this, it really rang true to me: “I want to live long enough so that I feel okay when leaving. I don’t know that there’s ever a time that any parent feels okay leaving this life but I have faith that some of us manage to do so in peace. That we leave knowing that we did enough.” That is a beautiful statement and I truly hope I leave knowing I did enough. I believe my mom died feeling that way and that also gives me peace in return.December 18, 2014 – 10:47 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw Emily! I’m so sorry about your neighbor 🙁 and yes to the hoping that we live long enough to know that we did enough. I love love that you feel your mom reached that point I want us to be there. First though we need some boys of ours to grow oldish and have the grandbabies right?December 19, 2014 – 11:31 pmReplyCancel

  • Heidi N. - you always make me cry! thanks for the timely message as we all get so caught up in the holiday craziness, I’m also dealing with a sick Dad who must be thinking all of this himself as he waits on more test results from doctors…I too have a hard time thinking of my special boy as an adult, we always want to do more, get him ready for the real world as best we can, protect him for as long as we can, savor as much as we can. Happy Holidays.December 18, 2014 – 11:08 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I’m so sorry that you’re dealing with a sick dad and yeah, thinking of our kids as adults is so so hard…especially when they have needs beyond the typical. Thank you so much for your sweet comment!December 19, 2014 – 11:33 pmReplyCancel

  • Kerri - wow. just wow. thank you for getting it, as always. that it is so important to remember the NOW. that we need these memories for when we are cleaning puke, when we are dealing with IEPs or when we worry about the future.December 18, 2014 – 11:25 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Here’s to the now sweets, even when it seems that it is in the ER??? So sorry about that…December 19, 2014 – 11:34 pmReplyCancel

  • Out One Ear - Linda Atwell - Beautiful! I’m so glad you tell yourself to remember. I used to do that all the time and still, I can’t always remember, but I try. I like to try to remember the smells, the smiles. But you have even one more thing–the writing. You will have that. Always. Forever. And you’ll be able to come back and reflect and again, remember.December 19, 2014 – 12:23 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I’m sure I’ll forget too. I’ve already forgotten some of the baby moments I told myself to remember. But at least wanting to makes it easier to focus on the now and not on the to-do?December 19, 2014 – 11:49 pmReplyCancel

  • Anna Fitfunner - I’d like to think that we are enough. We have to be, our kids won’t have another chance. That can be a great weight of responsibility, but somehow I remain optimistic that we’ll muddle through it. I’m not really sure why I think that way. I suppose that’s what makes me an optimist at heart. I think that you are a optimist as well, in all of the versions of Kristi that you’ve shared with us on your blog. Happy Holidays to your family and you!December 19, 2014 – 3:12 amReplyCancel

  • Undiagnosed but Okay - Remember this post 19, 2014 – 4:26 amReplyCancel

  • Susan Zutautas - What a beautiful post!December 19, 2014 – 5:27 amReplyCancel

  • Vidya Sury - And as usual, your post made me cry! So beautiful, Kristi. It is what every Mother wants in her heart, no? Hugs! Your boy is beautiful. And looks so much like you. Each time I see a parent with a child who looks like him/her, I marvel at the miracle, the joy of creating another human being and nurturing them.

    Your post got me all choked up. Right now, I am already freaking out over the fact that he only has another 4 months left in the school he’s been going to since grade 1. Whether or not he feels sad, I know I’ll miss it. ♥ How quickly life goes on!December 19, 2014 – 6:40 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Hugs right back, Vidya!!! And thank you!!! You’re so so right about how quickly life goes on. Here’s to the sentiments in your post – the life in the years, not the years of life…. so lovely.December 20, 2014 – 12:48 amReplyCancel

  • Rachael Boley - This is absolutely beautiful!!! Something I think about daily!December 19, 2014 – 9:17 amReplyCancel

  • Shailaja/ The Moving Quill - This was so incredibly beautiful. Can I just say that this is all exactly what I want for my child too? I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. What a lovely set of wishes.December 19, 2014 – 9:22 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw thank you so much! And I think it’s beautiful that you want the same for your child. Maybe all mothers do when we think about it…December 20, 2014 – 4:07 pmReplyCancel

  • Kelly L McKenzie - For this prompt I briefly mentioned I could have written about how I want to be looking back on my life from an old age. And then I moved on to pie crust. Just TypiKel. But there’s more to it. My sister lost a dear friend two weeks ago to a 5 week battle with cander. She was 68. I learned this week that a good friend of mine is also threatened by it at 64. She’s had a biopsy but hasn’t told me the results and there’s been no word from her family. I’m thinking the news isn’t good. Some of us like Mom reach 92 but the majority of us don’t. Thank you for the reminder to treasure every single day.December 19, 2014 – 10:18 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks Kelly. It’s so so hard….all of it. Your sister’s friend – just 5 weeks? How awful… sigh. My husband’s mom lost her battle to cancer a couple of years ago. She was only 65.December 20, 2014 – 4:10 pmReplyCancel

  • Kim - I love this post and so agree!!
    When my boys were younger I spent many days just hoping to make it through the day instead of treasuring the time. Now that they are teens I try to make the most of every minute because soon they will fly away:(December 19, 2014 – 10:50 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Kim,
      It’s easy to get stuck just hoping to make it through the day. I think that’s why it’s even more important to try to treasure the moments. Believe me there are days when, at 3pm, I wonder how I’m going to get through/fill up the next 5 hours!December 20, 2014 – 4:11 pmReplyCancel

  • Mike - This was absolutely incredible, Kristi! I really like the hand holding through Tucker’s mind before falling asleep. That struck a chord in me as I’ve worked really hard the past 4 months to fill my mind with happy, repetitive thoughts before falling asleep. It’s SO awesome how you are thinking, feeling and envisioning this beautiful tomorrow that both you and Tucker will have! It only gets more beautiful each and every day. I think about getting old too and always hoping and praying I will be in good health with my wits about me. Loved this post 🙂December 19, 2014 – 12:26 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks Mike! I hope you keep your health and wits as you get old too. I hope I do too. I hope we all do….December 20, 2014 – 4:12 pmReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - Oh this one got me all gushy flash forwarding to knowing my old man son. Wouldn’t that be so cool!

    I love though how you’ve put remembering this moment into perspective. I’m starting to see that “in the blink of an eye” people talk about. 🙁December 19, 2014 – 1:04 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Yeah, I’m starting to see that “blink of an eye” thing too Kenya. Sigh… and here’s to us knowing our old man sons!!December 20, 2014 – 4:13 pmReplyCancel

  • Allison - YES, love love. It is perfect, so perfect. xoDecember 19, 2014 – 1:56 pmReplyCancel

  • Tamara - well now you made the entire blog world sob into their sweaters!
    I think of that so often. Every time a whole day goes by and I haven’t been present once. Shame on me.December 19, 2014 – 2:01 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Shame on me too. I need to read this more as well… to you know, remember this.December 20, 2014 – 4:17 pmReplyCancel

  • Leonor Vidal Carrosquilla - This was so beautiful! Thank you for inspiring a piece of my own today. Love this!December 19, 2014 – 3:26 pmReplyCancel

  • Michele @ A Storybook Life - Kristi, this is such a timely post. It seems like this is the time of year when we’re supposed to be making memories, but it’s so easy to get caught up in the to-do list that the memories themselves fall by the wayside. I hope we are all fortunate enough to know our children’s children, and to be able to tell them stories of when their parents were little. That kind of family storytelling is priceless. (And although I know you’re thinking about how much of Tucker’s story to share here moving forward, the fact that you’ve written down so many memories makes it more likely that you’ll remember them — writing things down ingrains them on your memory in a unique way!)December 19, 2014 – 3:32 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I so relate to getting caught up in the to-do’s and not being present!!! I so so so so SO hope to know my grandchildren and that all of us do!!!! Family storytelling is priceless and while I don’t know how much of Tucker to share I so love that you get it and very much appreciate your reminder.December 20, 2014 – 11:38 pmReplyCancel

  • Becky Holland - So beautiful. You make me think of my little man and when he reaches out and touches my cheek to ensure I am still there or opens his eyes, smiles and goes back to sleep. Such precious memories.December 19, 2014 – 8:34 pmReplyCancel

  • Lizzi Rogers - *sigh* This is beautiful.

    At some point if I ever manage it, y’all are gonna have to do FTSF prompts I want to join in with.December 19, 2014 – 10:58 pmReplyCancel

  • Roshni - No words, Kristi!! No words for this beautiful post!!December 19, 2014 – 11:25 pmReplyCancel

  • Sandy Ramsey - I can’t find words to express how insanely gorgeous this is. I know this feeling too well especially as I am watching my youngest son walk that fine line between boy and young man. He still hugs me and tells me he loves me, misses me when we aren’t together but I feel the pull already and I know it’s near time to start letting go just a little. I spend a ridiculous amount of time smelling his hair and feeling the warmth of his hand in mine these days because I want desperately to remember how it feels. Once again, you have written my heart. Thank you.December 20, 2014 – 7:25 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thank you Sandy! Here’s to holding on to the smell of their hair and the warmth of their hands. <3December 21, 2014 – 2:34 pmReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - I had just kissed my son’s hand after holding it before I read this post. Thanks for the tears! Gather those golden moments and hold them close!December 20, 2014 – 2:09 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Yay for kissing our little boys’ hands, Elizabeth!! It goes so quickly doesn’t it? The time I mean.December 21, 2014 – 2:45 pmReplyCancel

  • Kirsten Jill Robbins - I have no words to tell you how much I love this.December 20, 2014 – 5:54 pmReplyCancel

  • Kathy Radigan - Simply gorgeous! xoDecember 21, 2014 – 8:17 amReplyCancel

  • Nicki Gilbert - Love. That is all. Just love. You. This. The way you writer about Tucker. The way you write. Love.December 21, 2014 – 3:22 pmReplyCancel

  • My Inner Chick - ***I want to remind them that breathing the summer’s night air or the crispness of a freezing winter evening while looking at the stars has felt the same since forever and will continue to do so. For all of us. For everyone. Forever.***

    O, my heart. xxDecember 21, 2014 – 4:36 pmReplyCancel

  • Shay from Trashy Blog - Kristi, I tell myself this so much that sometimes I fear I’m ruining the moment by telling myself to remember it…it reminds me that it won’t always be there, and then that makes me sad. I know that wasn’t the point of your post, haha, but that’s where my mind took me. When my “living in the moment” makes me reflect too much and, in turn, become sad that these moments will pass, I remind myself that other sweet moments are in store for the future, too. And that makes me happy. 🙂December 22, 2014 – 10:47 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Shay,
      I so get what you’re saying. Sometimes? I even cry when thinking about how much I’ll miss a moment when it’s gone even when it’s happening. Stupid, but yeah. Here’s to the moments remembered and the ones coming up that make us happy <3December 22, 2014 – 11:28 pmReplyCancel

  • Valerie Newman - Hey, I loved this. Where can I find out more about FTSF?December 22, 2014 – 11:55 amReplyCancel

  • Nina - As usual, another one that had me holding my breath while I read it. Beautiful, Kristi! I love how you write.

    I do the same with my kids sometimes, especially with the younger twins. I don’t plan to have more kids, so I try to treasure every little thing about them and soak it all up. And I’m one of those people who want to live really really long and old and meet grandkids and who knows great grandkids.December 23, 2014 – 9:42 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Here’s to us living so so long, Nina. So long. It’s almost impossible to imagine NOT telling our grandchildren stories… and thank you.December 30, 2014 – 12:21 amReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me - Oh, yeah, Kristi – me too! All of it.
    Happy Christmas to all of you from all of us!December 23, 2014 – 6:42 pmReplyCancel

  • Out One Ear - Linda Atwell - I’m so glad this piece was picked up. It is beautiful. And Merry Christmas to all of you on the other coast. Unless of course you are celebrating elsewhere. Then find your joy where you are. Love and hugs sent your way.December 24, 2014 – 1:02 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thank you Linda! I’m just now catching up from being out of town and al that good stuff – we celebrated in TN with my husband’s family. I hope that you had an amazing Christmas and are having a great New Years Eve!December 31, 2014 – 7:09 pmReplyCancel

  • Marcia @ Menopausal Mother - So beautifully written, Kristi. I often feel the same way when I look at my children. They’re all grown now, but thankfully I have dozens of photo albums to remind me of all the wonderful times we have had together. It never ceases to amaze me though how fast time seems to pass the older we get.December 28, 2014 – 6:05 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I’m so grateful for photo albums and yeah, the time truly does speed by more and more quickly. I hope you’re having a wonderful New Year’s Eve!!December 31, 2014 – 7:10 pmReplyCancel

  • Tracie - This is so very beautiful.January 4, 2015 – 10:47 pmReplyCancel

  • Meredith - YES! I want to remember it all too. It’s one of my biggest fears. Forgetting. Beautiful post!January 6, 2015 – 10:42 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Mine too. Forgetting is so scary. Already, I have forgotten some things…January 7, 2015 – 10:43 pmReplyCancel

  • Christine Carter - *Gasps* This. Is. Beautiful. <3 "Remember this." Thank you Kristi Rieger Campbell.January 6, 2015 – 11:42 pmReplyCancel

  • Jhanis - Daily conundrum can certainly get in the way of spending real quality time if we let it. When I grow old and wrinkly, what shall I remember of my kids’ childhood? Thank you for the reminder. I heart this so much!January 7, 2015 – 7:27 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I so so hope that when I grow old(er) and wrkinkly(er) that i will remember too!!!January 7, 2015 – 10:48 pmReplyCancel

  • Bronwyn Joy - Gorgeous. Thanks for this. Your timing is just right 🙂January 7, 2015 – 7:33 amReplyCancel

  • Stephanie Smith Sprenger - Oh my goodness. This was during the month when I read absolutely nothing. I’m so glad I didn’t miss it completely. One of the most beautiful posts I’ve ever read.January 7, 2015 – 10:19 pmReplyCancel

  • April G - Such a beautiful post.. I’m not sure that I think I’ll be an awesome parent, but I want to do better. I completely see their struggles, but I certainly know that I need to overcome them. I love just sitting next to them and I hope I’m here for a long time too!January 20, 2015 – 9:10 amReplyCancel

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