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

Just How Did I Get Here? Reflections on Life.

Sometimes, I wonder how I got to this place. This job, this city, this moment. This family. This house. These clothes, these friends, these neighbors and these beliefs.

When did I start becoming offended by certain words? Was I not always offended by them?

When did I grow up?

Am I grown up now?

It’s not like the life I live is much different from the life I’d imagined.

But, it’s not the life I’d imagined, either.

***

When I was six, I wanted to be a lawyer, and told my dad. He thought that was great. After all, his father knew what he wanted to do at a young age as well. 

dad, i

I wasn’t planning on being any lawyer though. No, I was planning on being the next Clarence Darrow, Attorney for the Damned, defending the wrongfully accused!  I’d be bringing justice to the people! Fairness matters, you know.

Of course, I’d bring in modern things that we didn’t understand back in the 70’s and 80’s.

Cook-3_edited-1I told my dad all about how I wasn’t going to get married until I was older and had an established career.  God forbid I become too much of a mom.  We all know how that part went.  I was re-born (not in that way) and quit my job four minutes after my son was born.

***

“You need to start thinking about college,” my parents said. “If you want to go to Boulder…” I interrupted them. I had to do so twice, because I had the same conversation with each of them in different houses and in different moments. By then, they didn’t share the bedroom at the end of the hallway.

They had different partners and different days with me and my brothers.

17-year-olds have a lot to be angsty and pissy about and I’d been riding on the separate houses thing for four years.

“I. Am. Not. Going. To. Boulder.” I said. “I’m going to California. Away from you people.” Arms crossed, ½ shirt flaring, teenage dickiness bouncing and flashing around the room finally landing safely back in my pocket where it once was cool to keep a comb.

“Fine. But if you want to go to a state school…”

“I KNOW!” I said. “I know that Boulder is as good as all the state schools in California, and your rule is stupid.”

Months went by. Friends were being accepted into programs while I buried my head in the Colorado dirt. Or tried to. Colorado dirt is hard, man.

I ended up taking a trip to visit a private women’s college (“A women’s college without boys, not a girl’s school without men” or something like it was their motto). All I cared about was getting out of the house and out of the state and away from them.

I went there. Had amazing experiences including inviting vampires in New Orleans to drink my blood. For real.

In the 80

***

It’s embarrassing now to remember the weekend I turned 30, and how we hid out in our apartment. “I don’t want a party. I should have been somebody more important or worthwhile or something better than me by now,” I said. “Let’s just stay here. You can bring me take-out when we get hungry.” My ex agreed, and that’s what we did. The shades were drawn from the world, take-out containers, beer bottles and cigarette butts littered the trashcan.

***

I didn’t come here easily, although in hindsight, I’m easily here. In this life. Or, maybe, I’m here more easily than I used to be. 

***

At times, it feels as if my son were born a month ago. And yet, his tall six-soon-to-be-seven-year-old-body is almost shoulder-height today. When he was born, I was worried about splatting his baby watermelon head. Today, I worry about him breaking his neck because he’s obsessed with flips and parkour, neither of which he does well.

***

Just now, I told my son goodnight, and he told me that he needs a dreamcatcher. I raced upstairs, thinking I had one in a box under my bed (with other hidden treasures from youth) and didn’t find it. Instead, I found a glass bottle from when I was six and in Cripple Creek, Colorado.

The bottle is full of gold flakes. He knows the power of gold (Minecraft). We went to his room, and set it in front of a photo of the two of us when he was three days old. “This is better than a dreamcatcher,” I said.

He looked at it. “Why?” he asked

“Because this holds the six-year-olds of both of us,” I said.

He gave me his silly little grin, and said goodnight. I’ve got no illusions that I won’t be in his room in 20 minutes once I publish this for Finish the Sentence Friday, but I felt good about walking back downstairs tonight.

The voices in the bathroom wall are quiet as well.

***

Finish the sentence Friday writing prompt

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “How I grew up to be the one I am now…”
Hosts: Me (Kristi of Finding Ninee)
and sentence-thinker-upper Upasna Sethi of Life Through My Bioscope

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  • JT Walters - How did any of us end up here? Brilliant metaphysical topic to talk about. My answer is we are the survivors and chosen ones who lead and follow your lead.

    I believe you quit your job 4 seconds after having Tucker. Your nose is growing you lasted four minutes.

    Is it the most amazing thing in the world how our children bring out the very best in us? We want to be better people, pro society and so selfless because that is the world we want our children to live in. Our hearts dance in our child’s laughter and our hearts die in their pain. We see the umbilical cord cut when they are born but it never really is. Once a Mom always a Mom.

    I have become a stranger to myself in Motherhood. Having a child with two rare disorders will do that to you. I know biochemistry like the back of my hand. To have become so specialized in rare diseases that I am correcting biochemical analysis for doctors so they help my son is totally not what I expected in life.

    To love someone so much, I only buy for him or, if it comes to it, I will skip meals so he eats healthy is also to be a Mom. I did this as a child when we were short on groceries so my younger siblings could eat. Joke in our house was you never had a sandwich without a bite out of it. By the time the little ones got the the sandwich it was gone so I’d skip a bite so they could eat.

    We are here as parents/caregivers of children with special needs. Thirty doesn’t matter nor does any other age but what we contribute to society. This website is a tremendous contribution to our community of really awesome special folks of every kind. Our stories are unique but we find solace and solidarity in the sharing of our experiences…sometimes through tears of grief and sadness and other times through joy and happiness.

    In a hundred years when they find the great internet dig (it will be archeological by then), they will come across as his website and read about how all these brave courageous champions of children who were not cookie cutter children ( a little different) and how their care provider/parent struggled for the playing field to be leveled and these children, arguably they last minority to be accepted, families came together to help every child around the world in need of it.

    We are here and we will never surrender!!!May 26, 2016 – 10:40 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - We ARE here and hellz to the yes for never giving up with our kids. Heres to contributing to society and to you who is doing such a great job with Alex. xoxoMay 28, 2016 – 1:11 amReplyCancel

  • Kerry - This is amazing stuff Kristi. I like your dream catcher substitute.
    🙂
    This particular prompt is going to take a lot of consideration, as I don’t want to repeat things I’ve written for FTSF in the past. Hmm.
    Life never turns out how we imagine. Isn’t that great?
    😉May 26, 2016 – 11:46 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Kerry,
      It really is great that life never turns out the way we’d imagined and I find myself repeating myself often with these prompts. Maybe I need to shake it up a little and come up with a wackier one! Hope you’ll join this week.May 28, 2016 – 3:46 pmReplyCancel

      • Kerry - Oh, no. That’s not what I meant.
        🙂
        Well, we all tend to repeat ourselves, now and again, but I always find your posts enlightening and heartfelt, all unique pieces of your life.
        I have just been thinking on a lot these last few weeks, it seems. I think I can approach this from a first-time angle. I think I know just who to give the credit, for how I got here.
        😉
        I would love to host this with you again one of these days, if I could come up with an interesting sentence starter to contribute.
        🙂May 28, 2016 – 7:24 pmReplyCancel

        • Kristi Campbell - No I know – it’s just that I was thinking the same, that I repeat some of these stories, especially when the prompt is related to how life’s paths bring us to where we are or what we dream or how we’re here… and I’d love to host with you again! Some weeks, I just think of something because I forget to ask. You’re welcome to host one of those with me if you’d like to!May 28, 2016 – 9:19 pmReplyCancel

  • Janine Huldie - Aw, what a perfect note to end your night on with Tucker and btw I constantly wonder how I got here and the years just keep flying by, as well. But I am thankful for all I do have and guess that is all that does indeed matter. Hugs <3May 27, 2016 – 1:58 amReplyCancel

  • Deborah Lovel Bryner - I love the idea that the bottle of gold flecks contained both of your six year old selves…<3! Makes me think of Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle"...<3May 27, 2016 – 2:37 amReplyCancel

  • Deirdre Conran - Wonderful posr! So a lawyer! My mom wanted me to be a lawyer but I can honestly say I could never see myself in that role! Love the ending by the way!May 27, 2016 – 4:40 amReplyCancel

  • Lizzi Lewis - I’m glad for the six-year-old-selves in a bottle that you and T can share. I’m glad for now-you and all the then-you’s that led to now-you. I’m super glad for tomorrow-you, because tomorrow-you will go on to greater and bigger things than ever before 🙂May 27, 2016 – 5:14 amReplyCancel

  • Upasna Sethi - This reminds me when I first told my Parents that I will be a Teacher, then Doctor, Artist ….ended up being an Engineer.The silence before he said goodnight means something. Hats off to the now-you.May 27, 2016 – 9:29 amReplyCancel

  • Nicki - Aaah Kristi, so adore visiting your memories with you. And this line: “I didn’t come here easily, although in hindsight, I’m easily here.” A bottle full of gold flakes… truly magical! <3May 27, 2016 – 12:41 pmReplyCancel

  • My Inner Chick - ~~~He looked at it. “Why?” he asked
    “Because this holds the six-year-olds of both of us,” I said.~~~
    Kristi, you continually manage to pull at my heartstrings.

    xxx from MN.May 27, 2016 – 8:01 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa Moskowitz Sadikman - I love all the places you go with this Kristi and it makes perfect sense becasue we are so many different selves as we discover who we are. Guess what? It’s STILL going on, isn’t it? MIss you. xoMay 27, 2016 – 9:11 pmReplyCancel

  • Paul D. Brads - This is great!May 27, 2016 – 10:50 pmReplyCancel

  • Allie - I didn’t know you went to a “women’s college.” How did I not know that!? You’re 30 sounds sad. And how clever is Master Tucker? Those are the moments.May 28, 2016 – 8:14 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Did you ever read the post that talked about the Fruck? It was a van that drove us into Berkeley for the boys. hehe Anyway, I left after freshman year. There was the fact that I hated it. Oh and the fact that I used all my college money for that one year – that’s how badly I wanted to leave home.
      And yeah, 40 was better than 30 for sure.May 28, 2016 – 3:49 pmReplyCancel

  • Christine Carter - Oh gosh- every time I come by to read your words, your heart- I smile, I sigh, I nod, all with that deep aggreement and nastalgia of years gone by for you, for me, and all the years to come for you, and for me- for our children and all this life brings us.

    “Because this holds the six-year-olds of both of us,” I said. < --- Oh my HEART.May 28, 2016 – 1:41 pmReplyCancel

  • Scott Hansen - Sounds like you got where you are by taking the scenic route, but you’re right where you’re supposed to be. Tucker is lucky to have a mom as amazing as you are.May 28, 2016 – 2:07 pmReplyCancel

  • Wendy Harris - I found this to be peaceful read that left me smiling… a story about a woman who has come into her own and is content with the life she has made for herself, at least as content as any of us ever can be. No, not the life you envisioned as a child, but a very good life all the same, and a little boy who loves your dearly. It just doesn’t get any better than that!May 29, 2016 – 3:33 amReplyCancel

  • Tamara - I love that so much: “Because this holds the six-year-olds of both of us,” I said.
    I do want a bottle of gold flakes and to keep hearing the dreams of my kids, and remembering my own, and how they turned out. Some great. Some not. Some still just forming. Many.May 29, 2016 – 11:28 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Your bottle of gold flakes can be moose sightings maybe or that you guys there KNOW GROOT. By the way, I showed Tucker Cass’ Groot costume again the other day like a billion times if you’re wondering about the hits. And yeah, here’s to the ones still forming.May 29, 2016 – 11:22 pmReplyCancel

  • Jack Steiner - Man, I wish I had a bottle that had the six-year-old I used to be and my kids. That is very cool, love that more than I can say.May 29, 2016 – 2:57 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I love it too. So many nights I feel like I’m flunking but this one, I was like “DUDE, here, we both win!” Thank you!May 29, 2016 – 11:23 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - I love the bottle that holds the 6-year-olds of you both…I agree, better than a dream catcher. I love reading all of your reflections about the past and how they made you you and how you don’t over-analyze them either. Those experiences were just how they were meant to be and brought you here to the now you and your now life and and even though we can look back at our pasts and wish that maybe we didn’t do certain things, I’m all about fate and believe that these past events were supposed to happen just the way they did.May 29, 2016 – 4:14 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - So much better than a dream catcher (although he still wants one and I still can’t find the one I had when I was his age). Em, your comment is amazing. For real. Sometimes I think there’s no point (and really there isn’t if you think about it) but I believe in fate too. Maybe we type to connect. I think that’s why we type. I also think that we type about the things that happened because we know the same stuff was in other’s worlds right?May 29, 2016 – 11:26 pmReplyCancel

      • Emily Cappo - Yes, that definitely explains it. And yes, we absolutely type to connect — it’s a lifeline for me, for sure.May 30, 2016 – 9:31 pmReplyCancel

  • Yvonne - Like so many other people have said, that bottle of gold flakes from when you were six is wonderful. Because of what you said to Tucker, but also that you kept it all these years. The earliest things I’ve got are some stories I wrote aged 10 and some other school notebooks. This whole post has a lovely almost magical feel to it. I enjoyed it!May 29, 2016 – 6:44 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I can’t believe I still had that bottle, although obviously I do because GOLD but that it worked, yes, there’s something about karma and life and moving on and gathering in. Or something. THANK YOU.May 29, 2016 – 11:27 pmReplyCancel

  • Roshni AaMom - What a lovely walk down memory lane!! Thoroughly enjoyed it, Kristi! We all have such grand ideas of what we will be when we grow up but somehow, most of us are pretty satisfied even though (or probably because) it doesn’t work out that way!May 31, 2016 – 10:25 pmReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - Awwww how sweet. I don’t have anything like that I’ve saved from my childhood. I’m super sappy today. You just got me with the closing!June 2, 2016 – 12:02 pmReplyCancel

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